De Futebol

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Liverpool kept pace with Man Shitty and Arsenal with a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace. The Reds hung for a tough win over Eagles.

The Daily Mail: “Make no mistake, Liverpool are players in this title race. Big players. It is not just their captivating attacking play, their pinpoint passing or their relentless pressing — this Liverpool team are resilient as hell.

Twice they were pegged back by a dogged Crystal Palace — both times they dusted themselves down to re-assert their authority to keep pace with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.

That’s true champion material. Their doubters will point to two more glaring defensive errors — but with an attack this potent, who needs a defence?

At times it was nervy, but it really should not have been. There may have only been two goals in it but you could easily double that.

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‘We will sort the defence, they can defend really well,’ insisted manager Jurgen Klopp. ‘I don’t go into the dressing room and say: ‘‘you are a bad defender, you are a bad defender’’.

‘These are things to work on and I am completely convinced. I am happy with our reaction and we could have scored more.’

Palace manager Alan Pardew stopped short of tipping Liverpool for the title, but admitted they will go mighty close.

The Eagles may even have taken a point had Wilfried Zaha been awarded one of three penalty shouts, though Pardew admitted they were tough calls for referee Andre Marriner.

Christian Benteke had an early opportunity to make Klopp regret his decision to let him leave Anfield in the summer but could not get enough purchase on a header from Zaha’s deep cross.

But it did not take long for Liverpool to find their feet as they probed and harried, in typical Klopp fashion, throughout the opening stages.

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Palace did not have a moment to breathe, Liverpool’s pressing suffocating them. Pardew knew this was coming. Stopping it, though, is easier said than done.

Liverpool’s opener was inevitable when it arrived in the 15th minute, Emre Can slotting home from 12 yards after Alberto Moreno’s pass.

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The home fans were livid, adamant that Moreno was offside in the build-up, however replays showed the left back was level with Palace’s rearguard at the time of Philippe Coutinho’s exquisite pass.

It was no more than Liverpool deserved for their confident start and should have signalled the start of a leisurely Saturday evening stroll.

Klopp could not have predicted what was around the corner, though, as Dejan Lovren gifted Palace an equaliser.

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Set up by Joel Matip for what should have been a routine clearance, Lovren fluffed his lines in costly fashion, allowing James McArthur to nod home past the on-rushing goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Lovren slapped his thigh in frustration.

Had Klopp been closer, the Liverpool defender may have been slapped by the boss, too.

Fair play to the Croatian, though. He did not dwell on his error, he atoned for it in emphatic fashion three minutes later, outmuscling Scott Dann at the back post to nod Coutinho’s corner past Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Roberto Firmino and Moreno — who also hit a post — squandered good openings for Liverpool to extend their lead before their defensive frailties were laid bare again.

Once more Lovren was at fault, losing an aerial duel with McArthur, who headed Zaha’s cross firmly past Karius for his second.

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How Palace were on level terms was a mystery. Klopp certainly could not fathom it, shaking his head in his technical area.

But it seems Liverpool are made of sterner stuff these days. They continued passing, pressing and probing.

Mandanda produced a brilliant save to keep out Coutinho’s header in the 37th minute and seconds later Sadio Mane blazed over the bar from eight yards.

Liverpool were ahead again, though, two minutes before the break. Once more it was a Coutinho corner, but this time 6ft 5in Matip towered above Palace’s defence to head home. Pardew will have held a half-time inquest into how the Liverpool star was allowed the freedom of the 18-yard box to plant his header past Mandanda.

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Klopp will not have cared one iota, though, he will have believed justice was done after his side’s first-half display.

Fair play to the Croatian, though. He did not dwell on his error, he atoned for it in emphatic fashion three minutes later, outmuscling Scott Dann at the back post to nod Coutinho’s corner past Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

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Roberto Firmino and Moreno — who also hit a post — squandered good openings for Liverpool to extend their lead before their defensive frailties were laid bare again.

Once more Lovren was at fault, losing an aerial duel with McArthur, who headed Zaha’s cross firmly past Karius for his second.

How Palace were on level terms was a mystery. Klopp certainly could not fathom it, shaking his head in his technical area.

Palace produced the first two chances of the second period, Karius saving from Benteke twice in quick succession.

Mane should have given Liverpool a two-goal cushion but was denied by Mandanda after another incisive pass from the brilliant Coutinho in the 55th minute before Benteke was denied again by Karius.

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Palace were furious Marriner did not point to the spot on the hour, but the referee twice kept his arms by his side when first Zaha stumbled after a dangerous flick from Lovren, then Benteke fell under pressure from Matip.

Pardew sensed an unlikely point, throwing on Andros Townsend for the final 24 minutes as Zaha was denied another penalty, this time falling under duress from Can.

But moments later Liverpool wrapped up the points in the 71st minute when Firmino coolly dinked over Mandanda after Jordan Henderson’s through ball.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3885662/Crystal-Palace-2-4-Liverpool-Roberto-Firmino-wraps-win-visitors-staggering-half-sees-James-McArthur-score-twice-hosts.html#ixzz4ObLqF48l

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