Saturday saw Crystal Palace fall to a 4-3 defeat away at Liverpool but with the scores locked at 0-0 in the first-half, Roy Hodgson’s men produced possibly the best worked goal I’ve seen them score since returning to the Premier League in 2013.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have become famous for the “high press” they match teams with across the pitch over the last year or two but with a little bit of bravery, incisive passing and genuine pace on the break, there are ways and means of getting around it if you execute when the moment arises. The opening goal of Saturday’s game proved to be the ultimate example of that, which despite the final score-line, leads to a warm sense of satisfaction over what’s taking place on the training pitches at Copers Cope.
I’ll readily admit to feeling genuine anxiety when seeing James McArthur under pressure facing his own goal but the faith he shows in James Tomkins, coupled with the sublime pass he pings out to Patrick van Aanholt highlights the thought process behind our system heading into the clash. For all the high energy work Liverpool put into pressing the ball, gaps open at the back which can be exploited if you move quickly enough.
Whilst the first section of the play was fantastic, it still required some great work from Wilf on the left and a well taken finish from Townsend to put the cherry on the cake, which in itself highlights why Liverpool have proven so hard for teams to beat this season. When you couple their relentless defensive work with the quality they possess in the final third it’s a truly potent mixture but in a flash, Palace showed that there are chinks, albeit extremely minor ones in their armour.
I can’t imagine we’ll see Palace score a better team goal this season, it’s just a shame it has to be remembered as part of a narrow defeat rather than a victory.