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    Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool Match Report

    Liverpool maintained their excellent start to the season with victory over Crystal Palace in an entertaining six-goal battle at Selhurst Park.

    The away side twice took the lead in the opening 20 minutes through Emre Can and Dejan Lovren but Palace showed their resolve as James McArthur headed his team level on both occasions.

    Palace were unable to offer the same level of response after Joel Matip gave Liverpool the lead for a third time prior to half-time, while Roberto Firmino ended the contest with 20 minutes remaining when he scored the visitors' fourth.

    The win extended The Reds' unbeaten run to 11 matches in all competitions but it was not enough to dethrone Manchester City from top spot after the Sky Blues won at West Bromwich Albion.

    Liverpool went into the match without the services of James Milner, due to illness, while Daniel Sturridge's two goals against Tottenham in midweek were not enough to earn him a recall to the club's Premier League starting XI.

    After suffering back-to-back defeats to West Ham and Leicester, Alan Pardew's Palace side welcomed back captain Scott Dann from injury, while Christian Benteke was playing against his former club for the first time since his £27 million transfer last summer.

    Liverpool began the contest by dominating possession against opponents who were happy to retreat inside their penalty area and they didn't have to wait long before taking the lead courtesy of Emre Can's first goal since February.

    Alberto Moreno marked his return to league action with a clever first-time cross, picking out German international Can to stab home from 12 yards with the help of a Scott Dann deflection as it made its way past Steve Mandanda.

    Liverpool's excellent start to the match was undone in the space of 120 seconds, however, when a calamitous clearance by Dejan Lovren fell invitingly for James McArthur to draw his side level after only 18 minutes.

    What was intended to be a simple back-pass to Loris Karius turned into a sliced assist for a grateful McArthur, who nipped-in to beat Karius to the ball and he headed over the German goalkeeper from just inside the area.

    Liverpool's response was swift, with Lovren making amends for his earlier error by beating Scott Dann in the air to head home Coutinho's inswinging corner from the edge of the six-yard box.

    The visitors could even have extended their lead as the half-hour mark approached when Moreno's run was picked out by Coutinho, but the Spanish full-back rattled the outside of the post with a left-footed piledriver.

    Although he was unable to find the net against his former side, Christian Benteke offered Palace an aerial threat throughout the contest and played a part in Palace's second equaliser by beating Lovren in the air to set Wilfried Zaha free on the right wing.

    The former Manchester United's winger's floated cross was emphatically dispatched by McArthur, who managed to beat Lovren to the ball and as he headed past a rooted Karius from six yards.

    Liverpool were then denied both a third goal and a penalty in a seesaw encounter as Roberto Firmino's cross was met by Coutinho, whose header was deflected onto the post by the outstretched hand of Joel Ward.

    The Reds did manage to take a crucial 3-2 lead just two minutes before half-time when an unmarked Joel Matip powerfully headed home from the edge of the six-yard box to score his first goal in English football.

    The pattern of the match looked set to continue after the break when Benteke found space inside the penalty area to drill an effort towards Karius' near-post but the Liverpool stopper made a sprawling save to deny the hosts a third leveller.

    Klopp's side had a chance to all-but put the game to bed when Coutinho's cleverly-weighted pass sent Sadio Mane through on goal but the Senegalese international was denied by the outstretched legs of Mandanda.

    Palace began applying more pressure as the match reached the hour-mark as Wilfried Zaha, twice, and Benteke were both denied spot-kicks when the were felled by challenges inside the Liverpool penalty area.

    Zaha went to ground when he appeared to be tripped by the outstretched leg of Lovren, while seconds later Benteke reached the ball before Matip, whose robust challenge sent the Belgian striker sprawling to the ground.

    The impressive Zaha was then denied a penalty once again when he appeared to be bundled over just inside the penalty area by Can but referee Andre Marriner was unmoved as he let play continue.

    Liverpool finally put the game beyond the reach of the visitors with 20 minutes remaining courtesy of Jordan Henderson's defence-splitting pass and Firmino's fifth goal of the season.

    Henderson's through-ball from just inside his own half spotted the run of Firmino, who calmly chipped the ball over the onrushing Mandanda to prevent an anxious finale to what had been a scintillating contest.

    The win put Liverpool level on points with Manchester City and second-place Arsenal, who both recorded victories earlier in the day, while only a four-goal win would have taken The Reds to the top of the table.

    The performance represented another signal of intent from Klopp's side that they possess the firepower to win the Premier League, although the way they defended throughout the match will give optimism to opposing managers when facing the 18-time champions.

    For all the dazzling and penetrative football Liverpool displayed over the course of the evening, they could easily have come away from Selhurst Park with only a point had referee Marriner awarded the home side a penalty in the second-half.

    Having twice recovered from a goal down to draw level, Palace showed tremendous spirit and tenacity and they will need to display similar qualities if they are to overturn a slump in form that has occurred since returning from the international break.

    The Eagles were perhaps unfortunate not to have been given the chance to equalise for a third time from the penalty spot, while Benteke also went close to levelling against his former side in the second-half.

    Pardew's team return to action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to in-form Burnley, who have already beaten Liverpool at home this season, while Klopp's side entertain seventh-place Watford the following day.
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    Item Reviewed: Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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