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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Liverpool 'ruthless' at Crystal Palace to cement top spot in Premier League

Champions storm to a 7-0 win at Selhurst Park with Firmino and Salah both scoring twice

epa08893469 Roberto Firmino (R) of Liverpool celebrates with Sadio Mane (L) after scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC in London, Britain, 19 December 2020. EPA/Clive Rose / POOL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
epa08893469 Roberto Firmino (R) of Liverpool celebrates with Sadio Mane (L) after scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC in London, Britain, 19 December 2020. EPA/Clive Rose / POOL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson described his team's display against Crystal Palace as "ruthless" after the Premier League champions ended their poor away form in emphatic fashion with a 7-0 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Reds' first ever away win in the top-flight by seven goals laid down a marker for the challengers hoping to dethrone Jurgen Klopp's men.

Liverpool built on the momentum of a last-minute winner that beat Tottenham in midweek as Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice, while Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Henderson also netted.

Victory ensured Liverpool will lead the league at Christmas for a third successive season and, on this evidence, will take some catching for the remainder of the season.

"I thought we were ruthless today and took our chances which is always important," Henderson said. "We dominated the game for large periods but I still thought we were sloppy at times.

"Overall, we're delighted with the performance. To finish this week off with the win after midweek is important and we managed to do that.

"It was coming I felt as over the last few games we have had chances and not taken them which has cost us at times."

Due to the late start to the campaign, there are still nearly two-thirds of the season to go, but Liverpool have so far survived an injury crisis and should only get stronger with more players returning and the chance to cover for Virgil Van Dijk's long-term absence by buying a centre-back in January.

Klopp has repeatedly bemoaned having to play Saturday lunchtime kick-offs after Wednesday night games, but his side suffered no effects from their exertions against Spurs.

"The boys are capable of that. It will not happen every week but it can happen," Klopp said. "It just clicked today. After a really intense period for the boys they should be really proud of how they came through that results wise."

Salah had even been given a rare rest from the start, but his Japanese replacement Minamino took just three minutes to open the scoring when he was teed up by Mane for his first Premier League goal.

Palace had chances to get back into the game as Jordan Ayew wasted a glorious chance as he pounced on an uncharacteristic error from Fabinho, but tried to tee up Wilfried Zaha rather than going for goal himself and played the ball behind the Ivorian.

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Crystal Palace v Liverpool player ratings

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At the other end, the visitors were ruthless as Mane ended his longest goal drought as a Liverpool player at nine games with an excellent turn and low finish from Firmino's pass.

A clinical counter-attack made it three before the break as this time Firmino latched onto Andy Robertson's cross before calmly flicking the ball beyond Vicente Guaita. Henderson then curled home the fourth from the edge of the box.

Klopp took the chance to give Mane a rest, but the Senegalese voiced his frustration at being removed to be replaced by Salah.

"[Mane] wasn’t angry because Mo came on, maybe because he didn’t stay on till after the free kick. You cannot do everything, they are human beings, but after the game he reacted fine, it was all good," Klopp said.

Salah played his part for the fifth with the pass into Firmino, who has now scored as many goals in his last two games than his previous 27 Premier League appearances.

The Egyptian forward then moved to the top of the Premier League scoring charts with 13 goals in as many games with a late double by heading home from a corner before bending an incredible effort into the top corner.

It was the first time Crystal Palace have conceded seven goals in a home match in the club's history.

"We're humiliated by the result, there's no question about it," Palace manager Roy Hodgson said. "For most of us in the dressing room, we've not been on the end of a 7-0 defeat before so this is a new experience, and quite frankly I can't think of anything positive to say.

"We just have to come over it ... there's no point in dwelling on it any longer than we have to. We have to learn some lessons from it and I'm sure we will."

Updated: December 19, 2020 08:03 PM

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