Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: Salah hits 200 in comeback of title contenders

Liverpool secured an almost undeserved three points as they came away from Crystal Palace with a 2-1 victory, after Harvey Elliott‘s stoppage-time winner.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

Premier League (16), Selhurst Park
December 9, 2023

Goals

Mateta pen 57′
Salah 76′ (assist – Jones)
Elliott 90+1′ (assist – Salah)


Despite coming up against a Palace side which their own manager admitted were in “fragile” form, Liverpool played out the slow start expected of an early kickoff on the road.

There were few half-chances in the opening 25 minutes, let alone genuine chances, with the blustery wind in south London impacting the flow of the game as players found their feet.

The first fell to Palace, with Jefferson Lerma worked into space and his shot somehow kept out by Alisson and then Trent Alexander-Arnold with a clearance of the line.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk reacts after bringing down Crystal Palace's Odsonne Édouard and a penalty was awarded, it was later recinded after a VAR review by the referee, during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were then let off after a penalty was awarded as Virgil van Dijk brought down Odsonne Edouard, with a lengthy VAR check ruling it out for an earlier foul on Wataru Endo.

There were bright points for the Reds as half-time neared, with both Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai at least firing shots towards goal – but Liverpool ended the half having failed to even hit the target once.

HT: Crystal Palace 0-0 Liverpool

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Referee Andrew Madley checks the VAR screen before reversing a penalty he awarded to Crystal Palace during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both managers made changes at half-time, with Jurgen Klopp bringing Endo off after a soft display as Joe Gomez came on, moving Alexander-Arnold to midfield.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Palace were then given a penalty, with the game playing on for almost two minutes after Jarell Quansah brought down Jean-Philippe Mateta.

VAR worked in the background with a long check, before allowing the striker to finish from the spot.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 9, 2023: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Even before the penalty was taken, Klopp turned to his bench again, with Quansah and Ryan Gravenberch hooked for Ibrahima Konate and Cody Gakpo, who joined Alexander-Arnold and Szoboszlai in the middle.

There was no difference in the way Liverpool played though, with a struggle for energy and invention as the forwards in particular failed to influence the game.

But Palace gave the Reds a lifeline as Jordan Ayew received a harsh red card for two bookings, and almost immediately after Salah finally grabbed his 200th goal for the club with a deflected effort.

2TBY67W Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park, in London, England, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Suddenly, Liverpool had the momentum, which was aided by an injury to Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, replaced by Premier League debutant Remi Matthews.

And then came the winner from another substitute, Elliott arrowing in a brilliant effort from range to make it 2-1 in an unlikely turnaround for title contenders.

Luis Diaz had the ball in the net afterwards, but was deemed offside, while Alisson made a vital late stop to ensure the three points as he kept out Joachim Andersen.


TIA Man of the Match: Harvey Elliott

Referee: Andy Madley

Crystal Palace: Johnstone (Matthews 86′); Ward, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne; Richards, Lerma (Olise 67′); Hughes, Schlupp (Ahamada 84′), Ayew; Edouard (Mateta 46′)

Subs not used: Tomkins, Riedewald, Ozoh, Franca, Ebiowei

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Quansah (Konate 57′), Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo (Gomez 46′), Szoboszlai (Elliott 74′), Gravenberch (Gakpo 57′); Salah, Diaz, Nunez (Jones 74′)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Bradley, McConnell, Doak

Next match: Union SG (A) – Europa League – Thursday, December 14, 5.45pm (GMT)