Liverpool hosted Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Anfield today in their fifth league game of the 2021/22 season. A very competitive first half saw both sides go close to opening the scoring before Sadio Mané pounced on a rebound to put the hosts 1-0, with the score staying the same till the break.
It was a similarly tight second half but the Reds were clinical with their chances as Mohamed Salah swept home at the far post after a corner was flicked by Van Dijk. Naby Keita then added gloss to the scoreline with a cracking finish on the volley. 3-0 it finished as Liverpool go top of the table. Read on for player ratings from the game.
Alisson – 9
Alisson was called into action in the second minute as he palmed Zaha’s attempt to knock the ball past him. The ball came off the post and bounced out. Ali made another excellent save from Edouard late on as he got away from Konate. He was front footed throughout and quick off his line to clean up any balls in behind. His handling was secure throughout and he earned his clean sheet.
Milner – 8.5
Thrown in at right-back against the tricky Zaha but the soon to be 36 years old held his own. He started shakily as he gave away a free-kick for a foul on Zaha in the first minute. Zaha left him for dead a minute later as he sped onto a long ball into the box. The veteran was solid thereafter, keeping his man quiet the rest of the game. He even found time to go forward and combine with Salah and Henderson. He kept the defensive line with discipline and Zaha was caught offside so many times. Great game.
Konate – 7
He cruised through the first hour or so, barely troubled by Benteke. He shrugged off Zaha in the box and Palace appealed for a pen but it was deemed a fair challenge. When Edouard came on he struggled a bit more with his movement. He had no idea where his man was and only a poor control from Edouard prevented the striker from getting a shot away. Then late on he lost a physical duel with the former Celtic man but did well to get a block on the shot which was parried behind by Ali. Sprayed some wonderful passes. Clean sheet.
Van Dijk – 7.5
Looked quiet today. There were a few times where a lack of communication could have seen us punished as he and Alisson went for the same ball. He didn’t play as many diagonals as we are used to and was generally very quiet. I know that’s a strange thing to say about a center back but we’re used to Virgil setting off attacks from the back. Gets the assist for Salah’s goal, and was a threat at set-pieces throughout. Comfortable afternoon.
Tsimikas – 8.5
He struggled with the physicality of Ayew a few times but stood up to the challenge and gave it his all. He was dangerous going the other way as he put in some lovely crosses. The first two goals came from his corners as he put in wicked deliveries for his teammates to go and attack. Not a noticeable drop in quality when he comes in for Robbo, that’s a huge praise.
Fabinho – 8
He was sloppy on the ball once or twice but it was his third game this week so it’s understandable. He dug deep and stayed alert to his task. Cut out danger when he could and passed sensibly when he got it. Had a few pops at goal to boot. His technical ability is not mentioned enough. He’s quality, first touch, close control and passing, absolute quality.
Henderson – 9
The skipper was brilliant again today. You can tell his goal in midweek has given him the confidence to shoot more often and he had a few efforts on goal. The closest one was early on when he sneaked back post but his half volley was pushed behind by Guaita. Never left Milner’s side with Zaha too as he kept at his defensive duties. Played some lovely interplay with the triangle of him, Millie, and Mo. Worked so hard down that right flank.
Thiago – 8.5
He runs the game pretty much. He was always in space in the middle of the pitch and sprayed the ball around with the ease and grace he has. He was unlucky not to score when his header brought a good save from Guaita. He can give away one or two needless free-kicks but he doesn’t shy away from the dirty side of the game. Unfortunately went off injured. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious.
Salah – 9.5
I thought he was again our best player. Most of our play came down his side and he was constantly driving at Mitchell and Guehi. He eluded his man at a corner and his header, guided towards the bottom corner, was parried by the keeper for Mané to pounce on the rebound. Then when the game got tight, he absolutely rifled home a sweet hit at the back post to make the game safe.
Then he took the corner which saw the keeper’s punch fall to Keita to hit a world. Involved in all three goals in a tireless performance. Got a huge cheer from the crowd for some brilliant defending in his own box against Zaha on the one time the Ivorian isolated Milner. He works so hard for this team. Best player in the league. Deserves that new contract. Hopefully, it’s sorted soon.
Jota – 7
The Portuguese was guilty of missing a couple of gilt-edged chances. First was after good play from Mané led to Tsimikas finding him in the box, Jota controlled well but fired high and wide from an acute angle. Then after Thiago’s header was parried, he had the keeper prone and the goal gaping but went for too much power and blazed it over the bar from a few yards out. His touch and passing can go awry at times but he works ever so hard pressing and tracking back.
Mané – 8.5
A strong performance today from Sadio. Started well when he somehow wriggled and powered his way past three players to set Tsimikas away down the left. His combination with Tsimikas was dangerous throughout. He played center-forward for a bit and his strength was an asset as he was able to hold the ball up under pressure, turn and get us playing. Clinical with the rebound to set a new record. Palace must be sick of the sight of him. A century of goals for the club too.
Keita – 8
Came on for the stricken Thiago and was neat and tidy but not really involved before the ball dropped out of the sky to him from 20 yards out and he hit as sweet a volley as you’d ever see. The fantastic goal, and a cool celebration (or lack of one) too. Hopefully, this gives him rocket fuel to ignite his Liverpool career. He’s been solid so far this season, so if he can add some spectacular moments to it, all the better.
Jones – 8
Came on and played on the left-wing for a bit before dropping into midfield when the skipper went off. He went close to scoring when his left-footed shot from the edge of the box was deflected narrowly wide. Always showed for the ball and was neat and tidy with it. A big season ahead for him you feel.
Origi – N/A
Came on for a few minutes towards the end and did well to stay alert and make a clearance in our box with Zaha threatening to get in behind.
Rested a few more players today and again, you can’t fault the end result. For all the talk of a weak squad, he’s rotated twice this week and won both games. The subs today were all that was required at the time too. He’ll be hoping Trent (illness) and Thiago don’t miss too many games. Top of the table and playing some lovely football whilst keeping clean sheets. He’ll be delighted with that.