Crystal Palace suffered their ninth straight defeat to Liverpool with goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita handing Jurgen Klopp’s side all three points.
Here are Edmund Brack’s four takeaways:
PALACE LACK ALERTNESS FROM SET-PIECES
In spite of the early first-half defensive courage, the Eagles collapsed when defending set-pieces for all three of Liverpool’s goals on Saturday.
For the opener, after Vicente Guaita made a splendid save to keep out Salah, the loose ball was allowed to drop to the feet of Mane for a simple tap-in, with no Palace bodies reacting quickly enough inside the area.
And with Salah’s second, Jairo Riedewald switched off from a corner and allowed Salah to drift into space unmarked to double the hosts’ tally.
Liverpool’s third also came from Palace failing to clear their lines. Guaita’s punch away from a corner fell to the feet of Keita, who struck a sweet strike from the edge of the box into the top-right hand corner.
There was zero determination or awareness to protect the second ball on all three of Liverpool’s goals.
SUBS FAIL TO TAKE THEIR CHANCE
Jairo Riedewald and Odsonne Edouard both failed to get the Eagles back into the game.
Despite playing an integral role in pre-season, Riedewald, 25, has been kept on the bench after the opening day defeat to Chelsea.
The Dutch midfielder showed glimmers of attacking intent with several passes forward to unleash one of Wilfried Zaha or Jordan Ayew. However, Riedewald switched off defensively for Liverpool’s second.
With Will Hughes and Luka Milivojevic eager to impact Vieira’s side, Riedewald’s mistake of not tracking Salah could push him down the pecking order for future games.
Edouard, who was full of confidence after his brace on his debut, should have brought the Eagles level in the 72nd minute.
Ward whipped a tantalising cross that evaded Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate and fell to the feet of Edouard. The French forward’s heavy touch let him down, and the ball rolled to the grateful Alisson.
FEARLESS EAGLES SHOWED A COMPETITIVE EDGE
The Eagles were quick out of the blocks at Anfield. Attacking and taking the game to the hosts resulted in the South Londoners crashing two efforts off Alisson’s goal frame in the first five minutes.
The electric start showed that Vieira’s side had come to play their own game against Klopp’s team, whereas in recent seasons, they may have sat back and tried to hit the Reds on the counterattack.
Despite eventually being forced to sit back and soak up the pressure, Palace possessed a dangerous attacking threat that caused Liverpool numerous concerns.
Zaha, who has been relinquished of the sole creative burden with the emergence of Conor Gallagher, was menacing for James Milner. And if two crosses from Joel Ward and Jordan Ayew had been more accurate, Christian Benteke could have had two chances at goal.
Despite Mane scoring the opener with two minutes remaining of the first half, Palace searched for an equaliser and refused to sit on their 1-0 defeat.
Edouard had a glorious opportunity to bring the Eagles level at 1-1 but lacked the clinical instinct from last weekend to bring the scoreline level.
MANE SCORES AGAIN TO BREAK FIRST HALF RESILIENCE
Although it took 43 minutes for Jurgen Klopp’s side to find a breakthrough, with Mane scoring in his ninth consecutive Premier League appearance against the Eagles, Palace’s first-half defensive resilience was impressive.
The South Londoners’ defence made 10 first-half blocks before the opener, with Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Joel Ward and Cheikhou Kouyate throwing their bodies on the line to keep the Reds’ attack at bay.
Palace’s built-in defensive work ethic was an aspect of their game that Vieira highlighted when he took the job, and the Eagles were forced to use all of their nous to keep Liverpool out on multiple occasions in the first half.
Vieira’s next test is against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion next Monday.
PICTURES: SEAN GOSLING AND PA
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