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5 talking points as Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 3-0 to go top of the league

Liverpool moved to the Premier League summit, maintaining their unbeaten start to the new campaign with a home win over Patrick Vieira’s Palace

Liverpool V Southampton Match In Pictures

Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table with a hard fought 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were unbeaten going into the clash with the Eagles and were made to work for a win which leaves them as the league’s very early leaders.

Palace could have been two goals up in the opening minutes of the encounter, first Wilfried Zaha was denied by a sprawling Alisson save, before Christian Benteke struck the post with a header.

But after that bright start by the visitors, Liverpool took control and Diogo Jota spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring when he inexplicably fired over from three yards out after a Thiago header.



Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s second against Crystal Palace




Jota’s blushes were spared by his colleague Sadio Mane minutes later however, when he followed up a Mohamed Salah effort to open the scoring for the Reds two minutes before the break.

But if the home fans expected a second half cruise they were very much wrong, Palace continued to throw bodies forward and Odsonne Edouard could have equalised if not for Alisson diving at his feet.

And Palace were made to pay for that miss when Mohamed Salah fired home from a corner to settle the game.

Naby Keita then gave the scoreline a more flattering look by rocketing in a stunning volley in the closing minutes.

Here are the biggest talking points from Anfield:

Trent’s importance clear



Trent Alexander-Arnold was absent after coming down with an illness
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Image:

Peter Powell/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




Trent Alexander-Arnold’s omission from the starting XI was rightly the biggest pre-match talking point. The right-back was ruled out of the game after waking up feeling unwell on Saturday morning.

James Milner – as he always seems to do – ably stepped up in his absence, but understandably lacks the quality of Liverpool’s first choice.

Alexander-Arnold already has two Premier League assists and looks capable of creating chances at whim.

Milner had a fair bit of joy down the right side but failed to pick out his teammates. Klopp suggested that he should be back for next week against Brentford and it’s crystal clear just how vital Alexander-Arnold is to Liverpool’s fortunes.

Mane breaks Premier League record



Mane’s first-half strike against Crystal Palace broke a Premier League record




Crystal Palace must be absolutely sick of the sight of Sadio Mane.

The forward scored for the ninth straight game against the Eagles, breaking a record previously held by Robin van Persie vs Stoke.

His first-half goal also made it a century of strikes for the Reds bringing up the landmark in just 224 appearances.

Mane’s below-par form went slightly under the radar last season, but looks back to his very best in the early weeks of this one.







In five Premier League games this season, he already has three goals and could be set for another prolific scoring campaign.

He’s guaranteed at least one more when Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park later this season.

More frustration for Thiago

It was exactly one year ago that Liverpool signed Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich.

His first 12 months in English football haven’t gone entirely as planned, but you imagine when Klopp sanctioned that arrival it would have been with the idea of playing alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.



Thiago was able to get forward and almost opened the scoring with a header




Thanks to injuries last season, with Fabinho forced to play at the back, this was remarkably just the second time the trio have all started in midfield.

And with the additional defensive help of Fabinho, Thiago was able to make late break runs into the box and dictate everything Liverpool did creatively.

The Spaniard was one of the best players on the pitch, but after an hour he was forced off the field with a calf injury and now potentially faces another spell on the sidelines.

Thiago will be desperate for his second year on Merseyside to be better than his first, but promising signs led to another frustrating afternoon.









Konate’s first showing

He was made to wait, but Ibrahima Konate finally made his competitive Liverpool debut.

The club’s only summer signing has been a spectator in the opening four games of the season but he was into the starting line-up as Klopp changed his entire back four from midweek.

Konate looked a bit shaky early on as Palace piled the pressure on in the opening exchanges, but did grow into the occasion.



Konate made his Liverpool debut during the win over Palace




The £36million man looked confident with the ball at his feet, playing some incisive forward balls and was tenacious in the tackle.

That aggressiveness almost saw him caught out after the break and against a more clinical side it would have been punished.

He was then outmuscled by Edouard, with Alisson bailing him out with a point blank save.

Considering it was his first taste of Premier League football, there were encouraging signs. It remains to be seen whether Joel Matip will come back into the side next week.

Vieira’s Palace impress again



Patrick Vieira’s side provided stern opposition for Liverpool




They may have come out on the losing side, but Crystal Palace continue to impress under Patrick Vieira.

The Eagles are barely recognisable from the side managed by Roy Hodgson last season, adopting a much more positive approach.

Conor Gallagher in particular looks like he could be one of the signings of the summer and along with the exciting Odsonne Edouard and Wilfried Zaha, Palace have the bones of a very exciting side.

After going toe-to-toe with Tottenham and Liverpool in consecutive weekends, they have shown themselves to be a team to watch.


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