Sadio Mane’s opportunistic finish brought Liverpool a vital three points in their first home game of the season and ended Crystal Palace’s run of Anfield league victories.
The Senegalese stabbed home in front of the Kop on 73 minutes as the Reds finally broke down stubborn resistance from Frank de Boer’s men.
Mane played a one-two with impressive debutant Andy Robertson and when substitute Dominic Solanke got a vital touch it fell into the winger’s path to bring relief all around Anfield.
Until then it had looked like Jurgen Klopp’s men might struggle to get the breakthrough as they spurned several chances to get their noses in front.
The Reds boss made five changes to the Liverpool line-up with Lovren, Alexander-Arnold, Emre Can, Mohamed Salah and Alberto Moreno all rested.
Ragnar Klavan, Joe Gomez and Robertson came into the back line with James Milner starting in midfield and Daniel Sturridge starting up front.
Robertson made an excellent impression on his debut at left-back and it was he who helped create Liverpool’s best three chances of a goalless first half.
First he helped release Milner in behind the Palace defence inside 10 minutes but the vice-captain’s shot was straight at Wayne Hennessey chances.
A curling cross from the young Scot from a short corner then found the head of Joel Matip but his lack of luck in front of goal continued as he somehow headed wide.
When another curling Robertson cross found Mane at the back post he looked set to break the deadlock but his connection was weak.
Roberto Firmino’s powerful drive tested Hennessey before Jason Puncheon finally forced Mignolet into action with a shot which was too close to the Reds keeper.
Liverpool stirred in the second period with a long range volley from Gini Wijnaldum testing Hennessey as he dived to his right and Firmino firing another effort just over.
Palace always had a threat and Klavan was too easily beaten by Ruben Loftus-Cheek as he set up regular nemesis Christian Benteke but the former Red fired over with only Mignolet to beat.
Wijnaldum took too long after good work from Salah on the right as Liverpool fought for the breakthrough which arrived just as trepidation was beginning to set in.
Solanke and Salah went close with good efforts late on while there was plenty of nervousness when Palace got the ball towards the Reds’ box but this time the defence stood firm when required.
A first league win of the season for Liverpool but it was far from straightforward.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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