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Below par LIverpool still too good for misfiring Palace


A BELOW par Liverpool side somehow found away to beat Crystal Palace and further tighten their grip on one of the Champions League places as the home team dropped further into trouble.

It was thought that with a first leg quarter final tie coming up against Manchester City in midweek, that Jurgen Klopp might rest some players but he picked the strongest side available to him.

With eight minutes gone Wilfried Zaha showed a flash of what Palace had been missing recently when he was played in by Yohan Cabaye.

He controlled the ball and hit a shot, which Loris Karius saved. Two minutes later Liverpool nearly took the lead as a corner headed on by Virgil Van Dijk; Saido Mane tried to head it goalwards but the ball went just over.

A minute later Karius brought Zaha down and the referee awarded Palace a penalty, which Luka Milivojevic dispatched to give the South Londoners the lead.

Just before the break Liverpool had a corner, which was taken by Mohamed Salah, Mane headed the ball but Wayne Hennessey made a crucial save.

Moments later James Milner crossed from the left to Mane who did not break sweat as he side footed the ball home to bring Liverpool level.
Eagles striker Christian Benteke had a nightmare as he wasted at least two glorious chances to score. Both misses summed up his season - and the general consensus is that he will not be at Selhurst Park next season.

In the 84th minute of the game Liverpool went looking for the winner. When the ball came to Salah in the Palace area, Mamadou Sakho lost his man and Salah got his 29th league goal of the season to give the Merseyside team the win. Yet again it was a familiar tale for Palace as they failed to hold on to the lead.

Klopp said: ”It was hard work. It was very intense. It was very difficult towards the end. We played football in the first half but not often enough.

“In the second half we knew we had to calm down our nerves. Today both teams were not at their best. The players came back from different countries and different time zones. We only had two days to prepare for today.”

When asked if the he was worried that a big club might come in for Salah, Klopp said: “No. He is a proper striker. Both goals we scored today were team goals. Firmino also fought hard today including with himself.”

Palace boss Hodgson said of the misfiring Benteke: “That is the way it has been going for him but he is good in training and his attitude is good.

“He is getting himself into goal scoring positions. I have to make sure he keeps getting into those positions.”

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