Premier League leaders Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to 30 games after a late goal by Roberto Firmino gave them a scrappy 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Firmino struck from close range in the 85 th minute, shortly after Wilfried Zaha cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener for the visitors who looked toothless in the first half with Mohamed Salah on the bench nursing a sore ankle.
Li verpool stayed top on 37 points from 13 games, eight ahead of Leicester City who beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0.
Jordan Ayew and Gary Cahill missed chances for Palace before the home side had a 43 rd-minute effort ruled out after a VAR check, with the replay showing Ayew pushed Dejan Lovren before James Tomkins headed the ball in at the far post.
Relive the action as it happened at Selhurst Park …
Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
A huge win for Liverpool. They weren’t at their best but they got the job done against a stubborn Palace side.
It could have been a different story had VAR not disallowed an Eagles opener in the first half.
And Zaha had a glorious chance to level again late on but he somehow blazed his effort over.
Not to be for the Eagles today.
90 4 mins
We’re not into the last minute and Liverpool have the ball deep in their half, with Allison rightly delaying his pass.
The Reds on the brink of a vital three points here in south London.
90 3 mins
Palace knocking on the door
So it’s Palace who look the more likely to find the game’s next goal, if we do indeed have one.
But we’re running out of time.
There’s just two minutes left. Hodgson is cutting a glum figure on the touchline – he knows his team have blown it today.
90 1 mins
Zaha misses a sitter
We’re into the first of five minutes stoppage time and Palace have the ball deep in the Liverpool half.
They eventually win a corner and Zaha somehow misses a sitter.
He’ll be kicking himself. He’s clear through on goal but blazes the ball over into Row Z.
Klopp goes defensive
Klopp is seemingly nervous that Liverpool could throw away this lead again, and the German opt to bring on Gomez for Firmino to keep things tight at the back.
85 minsKEY EVENT
GOAL: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool (Firmino)
Wowsers. This is a scrappy goal but Liverpool won’t be complaining as they’re back in the lead.
Palace fail to clear the danger from a corner after Van Dijk pokes towards goal, and Firmino prods home.
Hodgson will be fuming. Klopp won’t …
82 minsKEY EVENT
GOAL: Crystal Palace 1-1 Liverpool (Zaha)
Well, well, well – Palace are level, and deservedly so.
And it’s that man Zaha, who starts the attack with a blistering run at Liverpool’s defense.
Benteke eventually gets hold of the ball, plays it in to Zaha and the winger finds the opposite corner of the goal with a great strike.
Benteke with a stunning effort
What a goal this would have been.
The ball is floated behind Benteke, the former Liverpool flop who has just come on for Palace, and the Belgian attempts an overhead kick.
He connects well but it’s narrowly wide.
15 minutes to play …
Right, we’re into the final 15 minutes now and Palace are running out of time to get something from this game.
The Reds have possession deep in their half right now.
Liverpool being stretched by Palace
Palace are attempting to stretch the Liverpool defense, with Zaha looking lively down the left flank,
Schlupp comes on for Palace
Hodgson make another change, this tie it’s Schlupp who comes on Kouyate.
Can the former Leicester ace turn the game around for his team.
Worrying times for Palace
Seems Ward is indeed unable to carry on and Kelly is about to come on for Palace.
Will Roy make a change soon? The Palace fans will surely be expecting him too, as the Eagles attacking threat has seemingly disappeared.
Zaha hasn’t had a sniff in the last 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile Ward, who was an injury doubt for this game, has gone down with a knock. Seems OK to carry on though.
Firmino almost makes it two!
Inches from a second for Liverpool!
Firmino powers forward and strikes with a stunning effort, but Guaita is on hand with a smart stop.
Palace have looked promising in this last 10 minutes or so, but it is LIverpool, perhaps fortunately, lead.
And they should have doubled their lead but Lovren is unable to meet the ball at the back post.
Looked a certain second, that.
Zaha and Akexander-Arnold has been a relentless battle so far, and they’re at it again.
Zaha almost gets the better of his rival this time, but it’s defended well by the Liverpool right-back, who clears for a corner.
And from the set-piece, Ayew has another effort in front of goal and, again, somehow failed to hit the target …
Fabinho becomes the first player in Friend’s book for a needless foul on Kouyate.
Palace sed the free-kick in the box and Milivojevic lets fly from distance!
It’s a great effort but the Eagles skipper is unable to get his attempt on target.
Great effort from Townsend
Palace mount an attack and, after Townsend gets hold of the ball, he lets fly from the edge of the box with a stunning effort.
It’s a good height for Allison, who tips over for a corner.
Palace send it in but Liverpool comfortably clear.
49 minsKEY EVENT
GOAL: Crystal Palace 0-1 Liverpool (Mane)
Heartbreak for Palace as Liverpool take the lead through Mane – and it’s a tad fortunate.
Firmino starts the attack before playing in Robertson who sends a hopeful ball into the box.
Mane gets hold of it and strikes on target, and Guaita is unable to get a strong hand on it, pushing it onto the post, and it trickles over the line despite Van Aanholt’s best efforts to clear.
Klopp will be chuffed.
Palace picking up where they left off in the first half, posing an attacking threat to Liverpool’s defense.
Again, it’s Zaha who starts the attack down the left flank, but the winger’s pass to Ayew is cut out.
Second-half: Crystal Palace 0-0 Liverpool
We’re back underway in south London …
Premier League explain VAR decision
Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Liverpool
The whistle goes for half-time and Palace can count themselves unlucky that they don’t have the lead.
Well, they did, but then it was disallowed in controversial fashion.
Lovren was looking for that foul …
well , well, well. Another Premier League weekend, another VAR controversy.
After a lengthy delay, the goal has been disallowed due to an alleged foul from Ayew on Lovren.
Didn’t seem much in that at all …
Will be interesting to see what the pundits think of that …
GOAL: Crystal Palace 1-0 Liverpool (Tomkins)
Wow. Palace have the lead and it’s a deserved one too.
Milivojevic whips in the free-kick and Tomkins loses his marker to head home at the back post.
But, hang on, it’s going to VAR.
Palace are being very regimented with how they’re set up today.
Seems all the players know what they’re doing, and Liverpool just can’t break them down so far.
Van Dijk has seen plenty of the ball deep in his own half. But every time he plays the ball forward, it’s intercepted by Palace.
Hodgson will be happy
Hodgson, the former Palace boss, will be happy with what he’s seen from his team so far.
The Eagles are more than holding their own and, if we’re being honest, deserve to be in the lead.
Liverpool just haven’t got going. Most of their possession has been deep in their own half.
Liverpool are going to have to pose more of an attacking threat if they’re to find the opener.
It’s an out-of-sorts performance we’ve seen from Klopp’s men so far.
The Palace defense, and Cahill in particular, have impressed.