Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace: Jurgen Klopp’s side hammer Palace to move a step closer to title towards first Premier League title with rout at Anfield.
Roy Hodgson did not have quite the same luxury, losing goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and Christian Benteke to “muscle problems” and leaving captain Luka Milivojevic on the bench due to risk of suspension.
And from the off, there was only one team in it. Liverpool peppered the Palace goal early on as Georginio Wijnaldum missed a golden chance to open the scoring before Wayne Hennessey – deputizing for Guaita – made a smart stop to deny Sadio Mane.
But when Wilfried Zaha trudged off with an injury after 13 minutes, the belief appeared to dissolve from Palace and the hosts broke the deadlock in some style. Virgil van Dijk won a free-kick 25 yards out and Trent Alexander-Arnold curled it over the wall and watched his effort nestle into the top corner.
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Liverpool wasn’t done there, though, and would have doubled their lead had the post not denied Jordan Henderson four minutes later. Wijnaldum went close, as did Max Meyer for the visitors before the Salah gave the Reds some breathing room just before half time with a classy finish after a sumptuous ball over the top from Fabinho.
Klopp’s side could have taken their foot off the gas, but that’s just not in their make-up. As they kept Palace camped in their own half, Fabinho tried his luck from 30 yards out and hit the jackpot with a stunning 30-yard piledriver.
That made it 3-0 and Liverpool was strolling to victory as Salah went close to landing a trademark curler into the far corner. The Egyptian turned provider for the hosts’ fourth after he was found by Roberto Firmino, and Mane finished with aplomb – his 12th Premier League goal of the season.
Klopp gave his stars a rest, with 17-year-old Harvey Elliott getting a run-out, with the title two points away and within touching distance. Your move, Manchester City.