Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool
Premier League (13), Selhurst Park
December 19, 2020
Goals: Minamino 3′, Mane 36′, Firmino 44′, 68′, Henderson 52′, Salah 81′, 84′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
A relatively quiet afternoon at the office for the Brazilian as Palace struggled to force him into a meaningful save as those ahead of him dictated proceedings.
Off his line early to clear, and while not always accurate it proved enough to force away the danger when it did arrive. Importantly to him, it secured his fifth clean sheet of the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
The occasion marked Trent’s 150th game for the Reds in all competitions and it was one he grew into as the minutes ticked by.
In the right place to clear as Zaha looked primed to latch onto an Ayew pass in the early stages and not one to let Robbo get one over him, he did well to honour Henderson’s arrival at the edge of the box before triggering the move for Bobby’s second.
Joel Matip – 7
Back in the side after missing win over Spurs, he made crucial interventions and interceptions at the back and provided a physical presence at the times when Palace did get in their final third.
He even finished his day with an assist to his name, with his prowess from corners coming up trumps once again.
Fabinho – 8
Slightly edged his centre-half partner despite being caught early in the first half by Ayew, with his inspector gadget legs and game intelligence taking centre-stage.
Did well to shepherd his opponents in the direction of his choosing and was dutiful in possession to both trigger moves and deny the opposition. He’s been nothing short of sensational all season.
Andy Robertson – 8
Had been one of the key culprits during the period of sloppiness in the first half, but, as ever, proved his weight in gold at the opposite end of the field.
His wand of a left foot had the goal begging for Firmino for a second straight game and his consistency remains something to marvel at having played every minute in the Premier League this season.
Jordan Henderson – 9
It’s a miracle that the skipper still has a voice come the end of a match such is the power and consistency that it is used throughout.
Energetic, strong in the challenge and seemingly everywhere all at once, Henderson put in another shift for his team and his finish from outside of the area capped off all his hard work.
Was culpable of over-hitting some of his passes but was the metronome of the team.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
One of the quieter performers, diligently going about his work with little flair but that’s not to say he was underwhelming in any way.
Little sets him off balance and the scoreline afforded the opportunity to hand him a much-needed rest with 20 minutes remaining having missed only two of the Reds’ 22 games this season.
Naby Keita – 7
Interceptions were mixed with a number of sloppy passes but his positive intent to keep his eyes forward was duly noted throughout.
He is still very much finding his rhythm on this his latest return from another setback and he certainly grew into the game.
Keita proved integral in the move prior to the captain’s goal and ought to have had an assist to his name having set Minamino clear.
Takumi Minamino – 7
When you’re handed a chance in this team, you need to take it and he did his chances no harm having scored his first Premier League goal before those watching even had the chance to settle themselves for the game ahead.
His dummy before his touch and swivel fooled all for the goal and he did well to keep ex-Red Clyne honest in his place on the left of the front three. Let a chance go begging, however.
Sadio Mane – 8
You could forgive Mane for looking fatigued in recent weeks but a spark reignited against Palace, a side he has consistently wreaked havoc against.
It started with an assist for Minamino before his pressure in the final third and runs into space, which often went unfound by his midfield counterparts, delivered what he had been craving.
After eight league games without a goal, he ended the barren run in style to make it seven consecutive games with a goal against the Eagles. An incredible return and it was no wonder he wasn’t overly happy about his early substitution.
Roberto Firmino – 9 (Man of the Match)
Much like Liverpool’s No. 10, Bobby has rediscovered his touch and form and off the back the confidence-boosting outing against Spurs, he was a constant thorn in the hosts’ side.
A deft touch into the path of Mane had its desired effect, but it was his own goals which had all the hallmarks of the Brazilian we have come to know and love.
Starting in midfield and laying the ball perfectly to Robbo, he got it back in spades, talk about a stunning one-two before he later added a sumptuous dinked finish.
It ensured this was the first time since December 2019 he has scored in back to back games.
Mohamed Salah (on for Mane, 57′) – 8 –
Got to business early on his introduction, linking up with Trent nicely before laying on an inch-perfect pass to set up Firmino before adding two goals of his own.
The second was a thing of beauty and takes his tally to 13 in the league.
Curtis Jones (on for Wijnaldum, 69′) – 6 –
A quiet 20-minute spell for the youngster but another nod to his standing in the side.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Firmino, 75′) – 7 –
A long-awaited return was a welcome sight and he notched an assist having instantly reignited his relationship with Salah. A confident cameo.
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Phillips, R.Williams, N.Williams, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 10
You couldn’t have asked for a better early Christmas present from Klopp and co. with the manager’s three changes enough to inject fresh legs and consolidate the gap at the top after midweek.
It was a ruthless display and one which afforded the chance to both inject minutes into those who have been without while also handing a timely break for others.
Despite a long list of injuries and even a 7-2 defeat this season, Liverpool now sit six points clear at the top of the table, at least temporarily, which goes to show how incredible this team has been.
A record-breaking 7-0 away from home in the top-flight for Liverpool, talk about merciless.
Merry Christmas, Reds!