Premier League

Liverpool edge closer to title after Palace demolition: player ratings from Anfield

The Reds moved 23 points clear of Manchester City with an imperious performance against a Crystal Palace side who had been ninth before the day’s fixtures.

Liverpool edge closer to title after Palace demolition: player ratings from Anfield
PAUL ELLIS REUTERS

The Merseyside Derby may have been Liverpool’s first competitive match since lockdown but it was on their return to Anfield that the runaway leaders really announced that they are back. The Reds moved 23 points clear of Manchester City with an imperious performance against a Crystal Palace side who had been ninth before the day’s fixtures.

Able to name their first choice line-up, Liverpool showed the kind of dominance that has left them on the brink of a first Premier League title. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s emphatic free-kick and a neatly taken goal from Mohammed Salah effectively confirmed the three points before half-time.

Liverpool commanded 73% of the possession across the 90 minutes and they added another two goals in the second-half. Their third of the night was a thunderous drive from Fabinho from well outside the Palace box that flew in the corner of Wayne Hennessey’s net. The fourth came was the culmination of a lightening quick break that involved all three Liverpool forwards before being coolly slotted home by Sadio Mane.

The Reds’ delayed title celebrations can begin tomorrow night if Chelsea beat Manchester City, but Liverpool fans may not mind waiting a week longer. In their next game Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium, and could win the league at the home of the reigning champions.

1x1 Liverpool ratings vs Crystal Palace

Alisson – Did not face a single shot on target from as Crystal Palace played the whole game camped in their own half. Was confident in possession when the ball did come his way. 6/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Was not as impressive as usual against Everton but he showed his quality again here. Ambitious passing and an expertly taken free-kick marked a real return to form before being replaced by youngster Neco Williams for the closing stages. 8/10

Joe Gomez – Marshalled Palace’s limited attacking threat well, keeping tabs on Wilfred Zaha before the Ivorian was taken off with an early injury. 7/10

Virgil van Dijk – Did not put a foot wrong as has so often been the case in Liverpool’s commanding Anfield performances this season. Won the foul for Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick but was rarely called upon after that. 7/10

Liverpool FC v Crystal Palace - Premier LeagueLIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace battles for possession with Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace at Anfield on June 24, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Andrew Robertson – Liverpool’s style of play relies heavily on their use of width and it is no coincidence that Robertson’s return to the side made them look a lot more balanced. His energy down the left gave Mane the license to express himself more freely. 8/10

Jordan Henderson – An assured performance from the captain throughout his hour on the pitch, despite playing a secondary role to Liverpool’s attacking talents. Was withdrawn as Klopp’s thoughts turned to Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad next week and fans will hope that the ice pack applied on his calf was just precautionary. 7/10

Fabinho – It is unusual for a holding midfield to take the plaudits in such a comfortable win but the Brazilian oozed class throughout. A clipped pass found Salah for the second and he blasted in the third from 25 yards. 8/10

Georginio Wijnaldum – Game seemed to pass the Dutchman by for much of the match and was not as influential as he can be. Only real moments of note were missed chances in the box, although this was never a game in which that looked likely to matter. 6/10

Mohammed Salah – Liverpool’s cutting edge showed he was lacking no match sharpness with a coolly taken goal before half-time. Brilliant first-time pass sent Mane streaking through on goal for the fourth. 8/10

Premier League - Liverpool v Crystal PalaceSoccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - June 24, 2020 Crystal Palace's Wayne Hennessey saves from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Roberto Firmino – Looked much more like his usual self against Palace, linking up well with Mane in the early stages with some intelligent dummies. The Anfield goal is still proving elusive this season but he reiterated his worth tonight. 7/10

Mane – Was a threat throughout and seemed to benefit hugely from the return of his usual partner, Robertson. With the Scot providing width throughout, Mane was free to roam inside and picked up his 17th goal of the campaign doing just that. 8/10

Substitutes

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – The Englishman usually brings great impetus with his introduction but never really had the opportunity to show what he can do this evening. 5/10

Takumi Minamino – Brought on in his preferred central role and looked better than he did at Goodison Park, linking the play nicely as Liverpool controlled the play. 6/10

Neco Williams – Looked tidy in possession in place of Alexander-Arnold for the final 20 minutes. 6/10

Naby Keita – A late change for who rarely saw the ball. N/A

Harvey Elliott – Brought on to play left-wing in the final stages but had little involvement. N/A