Liverpool maintained their perfect start to the new Premier League season after beating 10-man Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Monday.
Crystal Palace 0 Liverpool 2
Townsend hits woodwork in first half
Milner (45′) opens scoring from the spot
Wan-Bissaka (75′) sent off for foul on Salah
Mane (90′) makes result safe on the counter
Jurgen Klopp’s side were made to work hard for the three points as James Milner opened the scoring from the penalty spot at the end of the first half, before Sadio Mane added a late second goal.
The Eagles played the final 15 minutes with 10 men after Aaron Wan-Bissaka received his marching orders for denying Mohamed Salah a scoring chance.
Crystal Palace held their shape well to keep Liverpool quiet in the opening stages, but the game came to life just before the midway point in the first half.
Wayne Hennessey dropped the ball into his own net from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross on 21 minutes, but Mane was penalised for clattering into the keeper.
Naby Keita got away from Andros Townsend with a silky turn two minutes later and released Salah with a fine ball over the top. The Egyptian forward’s lob from 14 yards out went high over the bar, though, after Hennessey came off his line to narrow the angle.
The hosts’ first chance came on 25 minutes when Townsend cut in from the right and struck the crossbar with a curler from 22 yards out, before Wilfried Zaha’s volley on the rebound was deflected behind by Alexander-Arnold.
Keita combined with Mane on the left two minutes later before forcing Hennessey into a save at his near post from seven yards out, while at the other end Jeff Schlupp drilled a shot wide of the right post from 22 yards out on the left.
Andrew Robertson had a sniff at goal on 35 minutes when Wan-Bissaka glanced a clearing header into his path, but the left-back sliced his volley high over the target from 16 yards out.
Mane threatened five minutes later when Keita fed him inside the area on the left, but the Senegalese forward blazed over from an angle with his left foot.
Palace thought they had done enough to go into the break all-square, but Mamadou Sakho opened the door for the Merseysiders when he made contact with Salah inside the box as the 2017 African Footballer of the Year shaped to shoot.
Milner sent Hennessey the wrong way to slot his penalty to the keeper’s left and ensure a half-time lead for the Reds.
Keita was presented with a glorious opportunity to double their lead four minutes into the second half from Salah’s cut-back on the right, but the Guinean midfielder dragged his effort wide of the left post from 15 yards out.
Luka Milivojevic came close to equalising four minutes later from a free-kick 25 yards out on the right that was well saved by Alisson at his near post, before Patrick van Aanholt flashed a shot over the bar from 16 yards out on the left after latching onto Schlupp’s neat reverse pass.
Salah made good contact with a cleared 60th-minute corner on the edge of the box, only to see Schlupp divert his volley behind. Zaha then fired straight at Alisson from 12 yards out on 73 minutes after shifting the ball to his right to make space for a shot.
However, the Eagles suffered another setback two minutes later when Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red card for clipping Salah’s heels as the raced through on goal.
Mane could only shoot straight at Hennessey from Salah’s cut-back from the right nine minutes from time, before Salah’s header was tipped over by the Palace keeper three minutes later from Mane’s clipped cross on the left.
But the Reds did manage to seal the win in stoppage time as they hit the Eagles on the counter and Mane rounded Hennessey before slotting into an open net from close range.