Liverpool kicked off their week of three home games with a win against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
On the return to Anfield against Crystal Palace, Jürgen Klopp made five changes to the side that played Hoffenheim in midweek, giving Andy Robertson his competitive debut and brought Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge into the starting XI.
Former Red, Christian Benteke, led the attack for Palace, while Martin Kelly was among the substitutes.
The first half
Palace were on the front foot as they got the first chance on nine minutes when Jason Puncheon sent in a well-judged free-kick to James Tomkins who met it with a header directed off-target.
At the other end, Milner almost put the Reds in front after sneaking into the area and reaching an excellent, angled pass from Robertson. But the effort was blocked by Wayne Hennessey.
Shortly after, Robertson swung in a cross that Hennessey misjudged and Joel Matip nodded the ball across goal instead of into it. Robertson was confident on his debut for the club and was a regular option to his teammates on the left flank.
Roberto Firmino also took a shot from 20 yards as frustration took over but the teams went into the interval goalless.
The second half
The Reds looked livelier in the second half and no doubt Klopp’s half-time talk encouraged the players to keep at it and that showed after a productive burst forward by Matip drew a foul and a promising free-kick was given from 20 yards out, however Milner’s attempt flew over the crossbar.
Gini Wijnaldum then caused a bit of trouble for Hennessey after sending a cleared corner back towards goal with a first-time volley that unfortunately lacked power.
At the other end, Benteke was set up nicely by Ruben Loftus-Cheek but the Belgian blasted over from eight yards.
On the hour mark, Klopp introduced Mohamed Salah and shortly after Dominic Solanke joined him. Salah set off an a breakaway sprint down the right and knocked a delivery into the middle but both Sadio Mané and Wijnaldum were denied by Patrick van Aanholt.
Then came the goal.
Mané’s one-two with Solanke looked like it was thwarted by Palace, but the ball rolled kindly for the forward’s rush into the area, then Mané clinically prodded the winner past Hennessey to take the three points.
It wasn’t the best of games, understandably, but Liverpool struggle against Palace each and every season, and they were the last team that Liverpool lost against. It was a great debut for Andy Robertson, who seems to have solved the left-back problems the Reds have had for so long, and it bodes well for Solanke’s future with the first-team.
Up the Reds!