Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool: Slick Reds take victory in six-goal thriller
Slick Liverpool kept pace at the top of the Premier League with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
Five of the goals came during a pulsating first half at Selhurst Park, with Emre Can opening the scoring (16) before James McArthur levelled the match within two minutes.
Dejan Lovren headed the Reds back in front four minutes later before midfielder McArthur added his second, heading home just after the half-hour mark.
Joel Matip headed home his first Liverpool goal in the 44th minute and Roberto Firmino added the fourth in the second half to see the visitors go 11 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Liverpool’s Emre Can celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have now lost their last three games in the Premier League and remain in 12th place while Liverpool move level on points with Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the table, Jurgen Klopp’s side third only on goal difference.
It took 16 minutes for the game to burst into life. Can was the first to strike after some fantastic Liverpool passing play, with Philippe Coutinho playing in Alberto Moreno on the left of the box. He took one touch to put the ball into the feet of the Germany international who fired home, the shot taking a deflection off Scott Dann on the way.
Roberto Firmino celebrates with Liverpool team-mates Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho
But two minutes later, McArthur got his first of the game as he took advantage of some shambolic Liverpool defending. Matip headed the ball low into the path of Lovren, but his touch was wild and allowed the Crystal Palace midfielder to nick in, round the oncoming Loris Karius and slot home.
Lovren atoned for his mistake just after the 20-minute mark as he got ahead of Dann as a corner was delivered and headed through the legs of Steven Mandanda before Moreno rifled an effort off the crossbar not long after as the Reds searched for their third.
Emre Can holds off Joel Ward at Selhurst Park
But Crystal Palace were the next to strike in the 33rd minute to again get themselves level, and McArthur was on target to nab his brace, heading home from a Wilfred Zaha cross on the left-hand side.
Despite the scoreline, Mandanda did well under plenty of Liverpool pressure, pushing a fierce Coutinho strike onto the crossbar before Sadio Mane fired just over the bar from close range.
Liverpool went ahead for a third time with just a minute of normal time in the half to play, as Matip nabbed his first Reds goal in style. Coutinho whipped in a cross and the Cameroon international, finding himself completely unmarked, powered a header into the back of the net to end a breathless first half.
It was Crystal Palace who were the better side at the start of a quieter second period, with former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke twice forcing saves from Karius in the opening exchanges.
Roberto Firmino takes the ball past Joe Ledley
Mandanda continued to keep the Eagles within touching distance of a result and made a fine low stop with his feet to keep out a surging Mane before Karius was again called into action to deny Benteke after some great one-two play with Yohan Cabaye.
The hosts had two penalty appeals waved away just after the hour mark as Zaha went down on the edge of the box under pressure from Lovren before Benteke was subject to a clumsy tackle from Matip, but referee Andre Marriner waved away both claims to roars from the home fans.
Philippe Coutinho competes with Joel Ward during the match
Liverpool sealed their victory in the 71st minute and it was the classiest of the six goals. Jordan Henderson picked out Firmino at the top of the box with a sublime through ball, and the Brazil international floated the ball over the oncoming Mandanda to add the Reds’ fourth.
It was Jurgen Klopp’s men who were in control from then on, as the Crystal Palace goalkeeper made a fine save to twice deny Coutinho and Liverpool saw out the game to go eight matches unbeaten in the Premier League.
Crystal Palace: Mandanda (7), Dann (6), Kelly (7), Ward (6), Tomkins (6), Zaha (7), McArthur (7), Lee (6), Ledley (6), Cabaye (7), Benteke (7).
Subs used: Townsend (6), Puncheon (6), Campbell (n/a)
Liverpool: Karius (7), Clyne (8), Lovren (7), Matip (8), Moreno (7), Henderson (7), Can (7), Lallana (8), Coutinho (9), Mane (8), Firmino (8).
Subs used: Wijnaldum (6), Origi (n/a), Klavan (n/a)