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Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: 5 talking points as Alison Becker keeps Liverpool title hopes alive.

Liverpool saw off a spirited Crystal Palace to move nine points behind Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League.

The Reds started well and took the lead when Virgil van Dijk met an Andy Robertson corner to power home his second goal of the season, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making it 2-0 thanks to another Robertson assist after a slick team move.

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Palace grew into the game though, and after Jean-Philippe Mateta came close before the break, the forward teed up strike partner Odsonne Edouard to halve the deficit 10 minutes into the second half.

Palace pressed and searched for an equaliser, but after Alisson saved well from Michael Olise, the Reds were given a penalty via VAR after Vicente Guaita upended Diogo Jota, with Fabinho scoring from the spot.

Here are the game’s main talking points.

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1. Van Dijk crowns fast start, and fine form

Perhaps carrying on from where they left off up the opposite end of London on Thursday, Liverpool tore into Palace from the beginning and could have taken the lead before they actually did in the eighth minute.

Pressure was telling as a corner was forced, and when Robertson delivered it there was a sense of ease and clarity about the way Van Dijk thumped his header into the net.

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Liverpool

The Dutchman had been slowly returning to his best form this season, but since the turn of the calendar year he has really stepped it up and delivered some dominant defensive displays.

Here was a goal to crown that, and what a clean goal it was.

2. Palace fall into Liverpool’s trap… to begin with

Going into this Premier League weekend there was at least one huge advantage Liverpool held over Manchester City.

The current league leaders sit second in the list of the most times Premier League sides have caught their opposition offside this season (47 times before they took on Southampton ), but they are miles behind Liverpool who came into this game on a staggering 85.

The Reds have turned their offside trap into an art form, and it was there again when a promising move which looked as though it ended with Mateta stinging Alisson’s hand was actually irrelevant because of an offside earlier in the move.

Such moments are frequent in Liverpool matches, and in the absence of their African attacking stars the Reds seem to have taken their efforts up a notch in recent weeks.

It was only sloppiness – such as when Jordan Henderson gave the ball away just before half-time, leading to a good chance for Mateta – which was allowing Palace in, and from that the hosts were able to grow in confidence, ultimately breaching the offside trap more and more the longer the game went on.

3. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain steps up again

There was a second goal in two appearances for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has done everything Jurgen Klopp would have asked of him in the absences of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

Playing in the Salah position on the right, Oxlade-Chamberlain is obviously never going to be able to replicate the skillset of the current best player on the planet, but he can do at least some of what he does.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Klopp’s men down spirited Eagles to cut City's lead after VAR drama

His movement and positioning was somewhat Salah-lite, and it was no surprise to see him on the end of the brilliant team move that made it 2-0.

His movement and positioning was somewhat Salah-lite, and it was no surprise to see him on the end of the brilliant team move that made it 2-0.

Finishing with his left foot – again a la Salah – Oxlade-Chamberlain guided home a goal that was fully deserved for Liverpool’s dominance at the time, and indeed for his own display.

4. Awesome, amazing Alisson

Be very clear: the only reason Liverpool were winning and not losing after an hour is because of the man wearing the gloves.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: 5 talking points as Alison Becker keeps Liverpool title hopes alive.

His save from Mateta, one on one in the first half, was absolutely elite. Beyond world class. And the offside flag going up afterwards doesn’t change that, only the fact that if it had been Adrian in goal instead, it’d still have been 1-0 after a VAR review.

Another from Edouard was superb, then Mateta tried to round him and finish. Both were denied, as was his lunatic, lightning-reflex stop from a four-yard backheel.

Even Ali can’t stop a two-on-one every time though.

Man of the Match whatever might have happened later, but his tip around the post from an attempted lob was maybe the best of the lot.

5. Liverpool survive title test

It has ultimately been a very good week for Liverpool, then.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Klopp’s men down spirited Eagles to cut City's lead after VAR drama
Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho shoots from the penalty spot to score his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park in south London on January 23, 2022. –  (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Back-to-back Premier League wins and a place in a cup final is a more than decent showing, with Manchester City’s dropped points at Southampton the icing on the cake.

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