Liverpool produced a captivating performance as they surged to a 4-2 victory away to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool
Premier League, Selhurst Park
October 29, 2016
Goals: Can 16′, Lovren 21′, Matip 44′, Firmino 71′; McArthur 18′, 33′
Loris Karius – 5.5 (out of 10)
Made his first saves as Liverpool goalkeeper, but didn’t look assured in his role between the sticks against a formidable Palace attack.
His much-publicised failings against high balls may have affected his approach, while his distribution was hit-and-miss, skewing a number of passes out of play.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7
Provided a solid defensive base on the right-hand side, nullifying Wilfried Zaha on the winger’s move over to the left flank, with his positioning particularly intelligent.
Surging forward, he was also a constant outlet for Sadio Mane on the overlap, and the Senegalese should have netted his fifth goal in a Liverpool shirt following a smart one-touch pass from Clyne in the first half.
Joel Matip – 8
Diego Costa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Salomon Rondon and now Christian Benteke—Matip crossed another bullish centre-forward off his list as he continued his fine start to life on Merseyside.
Yet to experience defeat following his move from Schalke 04 in the summer, Matip was strong, composed and utilised a well-placed physicality in dealing with the former Reds No. 9, and on his 10th appearance for his new side, netted an excellent header just before half-time.
Dejan Lovren – 6.5
Fared less favourably than his centre-back partner, particularly in gifting Palace an equaliser at 1-0 up with a sloppy attempted clearance, and made a few mistimed challenges against a bright Palace attack.
However, the Croatian did make amends for his error with a powerful effort to make it 2-1, and was far from the calamity he has produced against the Eagles in the past.
Alberto Moreno – 7
If one player encapsulated the sheer ridiculousness of Liverpool’s performance, it was Moreno.
The Spaniard—drafted in to cover for James Milner, who sat out with illness—was a relentless attacking presence down the left flank, but presented a mixed bag in the defensive sector.
Made a great move and cross for Emre Can‘s opener, but was then culpable for McArthur’s second as he stood off Zaha on the edge of the box, allowing the 23-year-old to cross unchallenged.
Jordan Henderson – 7.5
Was largely quiet in his role at the base of the midfield, but this was not to suggest he was enduring a bad night under the Selhurst lights, breaking up play efficiently and moving possession on crisply.
Henderson could have been more influential at stages, but made more successful tackles than any other player, with eight, and played an exceptional through ball for Roberto Firmino‘s goal.
Adam Lallana – 6.5
Not at the races for much of the evening, Lallana pressed with the industry that is now expected of him, and moved the ball about with a real fluency, but struggled to make his mark on the contest.
Substituted with 14 minutes to play, Lallana completed just 66.7 percent of his attempted passes, fewer than any other of the Reds outfield players, and failed to create a single chance.
Emre Can – 7
Something of an enigma in midfield, Can did push Liverpool up the pitch with strength and guile, but was often at odds with his team-mates moving into attack.
The German did, however, make a brilliant third-man run to find space in the penalty area to net the opener as Moreno and Philippe Coutinho combined on the overlap; an invaluable quality.
Sadio Mane – 6
Arguably Liverpool’s worst outfield player on the night, Mane could not find his usual sharpness in his role on the right of Jurgen Klopp‘s forward three.
His pace troubled former Reds full-back Martin Kelly, but there was a real cutting edge lacking from his game.
Philippe Coutinho – 9 (Man of the Match)
A sensational display from Liverpool’s No. 10, who is threatening to break into the elite bracket with his performances as Klopp’s playmaker.
Coutinho was untouchable, dictating play freely and creating four chances for his team-mates, be that in a more advanced position on the left flank or when dropping deeper to collect the ball.
Incredibly, the 24-year-old grabbed two assists with well-directed corner kicks, with his only blemish being his inability to beat Steve Mandanda—the Frenchman making a fine double stop to thwart his near-post header in the first half.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Another, like Henderson and Lallana, who faded into the periphery at times, but just like the former, he ultimately made his mark to cap a comfortable performance.
The Brazilian’s impudent chip over Mandanda put the icing on the cake on the night, with Firmino now having scored five goals and laid on four assists in 11 appearances for the Reds so far in 2016/17.
Georginio Wijnaldum (on for Lallana, 76′) – 6.5 – Pushed Liverpool up the field well, but had little time to make a genuine impact.
Divock Origi (on for Coutinho, 89′) – N/A – Touched the ball four times.
Ragnar Klavan (on for Mane, 90+2′) – N/A – Now one appearance off medal eligibility in May…
Subs not used: Mignolet, Randall, Lucas, Sturridge
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Klopp will have been shocked at the standard of Liverpool’s defensive work for both goals, but could have done little to avoid the poor judgment of Lovren and Moreno.
Moved Mane into a wider role to create space in the final third, which clearly paid off, with these minor tactical tweaks the hallmark of a great manager.
The German also managed the game well with his substitutions: Wijnaldum to replicate Lallana’s energy; Origi to provide a more physical presence in attack; and Klavan to shore up the defence for the final two minutes.