The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW31): Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace
Liverpool's return to Anfield with the Reds needing just the five points to clinch their first ever Premier League title and it only took Jurgen Klopp's side 7 minutes of play before they should have taken the lead. Playing tight between the lines down the right-flank, after a night passing sequence Jordan Henderson whipped in a back-post cross, with Andros Townsend's miss-kick falling into the path of Mo Salah. Palace stabbed the ball out, but only to Gini Wijnaldum, though the Dutch midfielder blazed wide from close range with a reactionary effort on goal.
The mood was beginning to change on 15 minutes when Max Meyer had to replace Palace's dangerman, Wilfried Zaha. Within a minute Sadio Mane chested down brilliantly and set Roberto Firmino free, though the Brazilian didn't open up his body enough to curl an effort past Wayne Hennessey in the sticks for the travelling Eagles.
Within 10 minutes of Zaha going off, the first goal for Liverpool was inevitable and it came as two defenders combined, when Virgil van Dijk was fouled 25-yards out from goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold stepped up and curled the ball brilliantly from the resulting free-kick for the opening goal of the afternoon.
Just after the water break Liverpool threatened again from a set-piece with TAA laying Robertson in, with the Scot's cross being headed back out into Jordan Henderson's direction. The Reds captain struck well and hit the right-hand post before being scrambled away for a corner.
The Reds killed the game off just before half-time to ensure that Palace would play out a long second-half when Fabinho floated in a perfectly timed ball over the top of Patrick van Anaholt, with Mohamed Salah chesting down and burying his effort into the net with ease to double Liverpool's lead.
The 55th minute of the game came around quickly as Liverpool continued their good evening when Andrew Robertson squared for Fabinho from 30-yards out, with the Brazilian firing in a rocket of a goal to treble the lead. What a goal. What an effort from range and what a night so far for Fabinho.
Chances kept felling to the home team as the onslaught continued, with Mo Salah curling a fine effort just past Hennessey's right-hand post with an on-looking Luka Milivojevic, about to be subbed into the game, looking like he'd rather be spending his evening at home in a bubble bath with a book and some cheap white wine.
The best was yet to come for Liverpool as the Reds played themselves out of trouble at the back brilliantly, with the ball eventually falling out to Mo Salah who carved open the Palace defence with one ball to play in Mane. The Senegal international took one touch before placing his effort to the left of Hennessey to add to the haul.
Into added-time at the end of the game, Neko Williams played Mo Salah through, with the Forward picking to have his outside-of-the-boot shot saved instead of playing in Minamino for a tap-in. Overall, it was a fine evening of viewing and we'd like to spare a moment for Patrick van Aanholt, the Palace left-back played the Reds onside for two goals, he lost Zaha early to injury, and was terrorised by Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold all evening.
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah (LIV)
This is harsh to take away from Fabinho, who scored a screamer and assisted Mo Salah's goal in the first-half, but this result has been much done to Robertson and Salah providing the balance Liverpool need to be an effective attacking outlet. The Egyptian was at his entertaining best, took his goal well and carved open Palace's lacklustre defenders with ease to assist Sadio Mane's goal.
LIV 4-0 CRY - Insight and Analysis:
As rare as good Premier League games have been to come across, I actually had the pleasure of watching a fluid, progressive Liverpool team actually enterain my eyeballs this evening. Most of the games we've endured have been slogs to watch, with subs coming on to change encounters.
Mo Salah and Andrew Robertson's return, combined with the early withdrawal of Wilfried Zaha, set this entertaining clash in motion. The pair bring such a good balance to Klopp's side - evident after the laboured goalless draw away at Everton when both were missing. Robertson's drive forward provided the balance that Klopp would have been demanding after the bore-draw against their rivals.
Crystal Palace made a host of changes and were never really in the game to begin with and allowed The Reds to purr - even Klopp bringing on some of the fringer players and youngers didn't slow down his side's intensity as they provided an attacking clinic against a Palace side that will want to forget this one quickly before a mid-table clash against Burnley at Selhurst Park.
As for Liverpool, they've done their job and could win the title without kicking a ball if Chelsea get a result against Man City - meaning that another title could be settled at Stamford Bridge this season. If not, it'll be settled at The Etihad and I've got a feeling that nobody at Man City wants to see that happen.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
DEF: T. Alexander-Arnold (Williams 74')
DEF: J. Gomez
DEF: V. van Dijk
DEF: A. Robertson (Elliott 84')
MID: J. Henderson (Oxlade-Chamberlain 64')
MID: G. Wijnaldum
FOR: M. Salah
FOR: S. Mane (Keita 84')
FOR: R. Firmino (Minamino 74')
Lovren, Keita, Adrian, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Jones, Elliott, Williams
Manager: Roy Hodgson
GK: W. Hennessey
DEF: J. Ward
DEF: G. Cahill
DEF: M. Sakho
DEF: P. van Aanholt
MID: J. McCarthy
MID: A. Townsend
MID: C. Kouyaté (Milivojevic 66')
MID: J. McArthur (Riedewald 66')
MID: W. Zaha (Meyer 15')
FOR: J. Ayew (Pierrick Keutcha 84')
Milivojevic, Dann, Meyer, Henderson, Tavares, Mitchell, Pierrick Keutcha, Riedewald
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