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October 5, 2013
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 44721
L. Suárez 13'
D. Sturridge 17'
S. Gerrard 38'
D. Gayle 76'
Shots on Target
That's all from me for today guys and girls. I hope you enjoyed the commentary. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: LIVERPOOL 3-1 CRYSTAL PALACE Brendan Rodgers' side go top of the table overnight thanks to a comfortable victory over a Palace team that are still without a win in the top flight this season. Liverpool's menacing SAS (Suarez And Sturridge) strikeforce were resplendant throughout, and were instrumental as the hosts went three-up before the break. Both were on the scoresheet, as was Gerrard, whose 38th minute penalty took him to 99 Premier League goals. Gayle nodded a consolation goal past Mignolet late on but that was not enough to spark any kind of Palace comeback against a confident Liverpool side. Arsenal take on West Brom tomorrow afternoon, and could reclaim top spot then, but for the time being Liverpool are sitting pretty in first place.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Iago Aspas
90' + 4'
And there is the final whistle! Liverpool have run out easy 3-1 winners this afternoon!
90' + 3'
Aspas picks up a yellow card late on for petulant play as he kicks the ball away from Jedinak as Palace try and take a free kick.
90' + 2'
Bolasie skips away from Toure on the left but his attempted cross is not up to scratch. Agger retrieves the ball from no-man's-land, and Liverpool are able to build from the back.
The fourth official signals there will be four minutes of added time at Anfield.
Liverpool, not for the first time this season, have been a tad underwhelming in the second half, but Rodgers will have no complaints with it coming off the back of their thunderous start, which saw them race into a three-goal lead before the interval.
Off goes Sturridge to a standing ovation from the Kop. He is replaced by Iago Aspas for the final few minutes of this game.
STURRIDGE HITS THE POST! The England international sends a sublime right foot effort onto the root of the right-hand post after being found 18 yards from goal by that man Suarez.
Sturridge-Suarez-Sturridge-Suarez-Sturridge-Delaney. The Liverpool front two may as well have their own ball, they have seen far more of it today than any other players on the pitch. Their latest foray forward is stopped by another impressive tackle from Delaney, who has played well at the centre of Palace's defence today.
Suarez catches Jedinak in the face with a stray boot inside the Palace box and the visitors are awarded a free kick. The former Ajax man is a controversy magnet! He tried to act as if he didn't touch the Palace captain there.
Liverpool have been jolted into action by that header from Gayle. After a blistering first half the tempo of their play had dipped quite dramatically. But now, following on from that Palace goal, there is far more urgency to their play.
"4-3. We're going to win 4-3," sing the optimistic Palace fans behind Mignolet's goal.
Goal Dwight Gayle
GAYLE NODS CAMPANA'S FREE KICK PAST MIGNOLET! Is the comeback on? The London side pull a goal back through Gayle, as he gets in front of Agger to connect with Campana's free kick from the left and flick a near post header into the far corner.
Yellow Card Raheem Sterling
Moxey receives treatment following that clash with Suarez and Holloway will certainly be hoping the defender is fit to continue having already used all three of his substitutes today.
The Palace attack breaks down as Suarez hurtles into the back of Moxey near the halfway line, in what was perhaps an attempt at retribution after the full-back caught him and Taylor waved play on just moments before.
Suarez crumples to the turf clutching some part of his anatomy. Play carries on without him though, and the Palace sub Yannick Bolasie goes sprinting down the left with the ball at his feet.
STAT: Palace's only previous league win away to the Reds was on 2 November 1991, when Marco Gabbiadini and Geoff Thomas scored for the visitors.
RABONA FROM SUAREZ! Now that is lovely to see, even if it didn't come off perfectly. The Uruguayan speeds to the byline and flicks his right foot round the back of his left to chip a pass towards Sturridge. For the first time today the English forward had no idea what his strike partner was doing though, and Palace were able to clear.
GAYLE FIRES OVER FOR PALACE! The 22-year-old summer signing wastes a glorious chance to force Mignolet into action after racing into the penalty area. His shot smacks of nerves as it flies high over the crossbar into the Anfield crowd.
UNUSUAL INJURY: Agger makes his return from a wrist injury, which he sustained when trying to stop a dumbbell landing on his foot in the Liverpool gym.
The Palace academy graduate Moses is replaced by Luis Alberto, while Sakho makes way for Daniel Agger.
Rodgers looks set to make a couple of changes of his own as Liverpool's intensity wanes following their high tempo opening 45 minutes.
PALACE-LONA! Campana has provided a bit of Spanish flair for the visitors since coming on at half-time, and he has just instigated a lovely flowing move that sadly ended with a woeful flick by Chamakh. For a brief moment, I felt like I was watching a game at Camp Nou.
STAT: Liverpool played five league games at Anfield during Suarez's ban for biting and those matches produced a measly total of four goals. They have nearly reached that tally in the first hour of his return.
An overhit corner from Gerrard is kept in play well by Suarez on the left, and the ball eventually finds itself back at the feet of Liverpool's enigmatic captain, only for him to blast it straight into the midriff of Moxey while trying to test Speroni from 20 yards.
Chamakh runs down a blind alley where he meets Toure and Skrtel. The Liverpool defensive duo easily steal the ball from the Palace attacker and promptly start an attack down the right for their side.
Palace have certainly had a bit more about them since the break, which could well be down to those two changes that Holloway made. For all their hustle and bustle in the centre of the park they are yet to test Mignolet in the second period though.
Gayle's first real involvement is to hold the ball up well and bring Puncheon into play on the left. The midfielder switches the play with a crisp cross-field ball but when Palace then try and advance into the box possession is easily picked up by Henderson.
Sterling's final ball has been lacking today, which really says something considering Liverpool are three goals to the good. The young winger/wing-back has carelessly given away possession in promising positions for the hosts, the latest example being a sloppy pass towards Suarez that was intercepted by Delaney on the edge of the Palace box.
SUAREZ IS FUMING WITH THE LINESMAN ON THE NEAR SIDE! Gerrard dissected the Palace defence with a first-time throughball that Suarez eagerly controlled on the left, but the move was brought to a halt by the flag of the official.
STAT: The Eagles are winless in 16 Premier League away matches (D5, L11), a run dating back to a 1-0 victory at Birmingham in October 2004.
Cheeky from Suarez. The former Groningen forward controls the ball with his arm with his back to the goal 25 yards out, but the eagle eyes of Anthony Taylor spot the infringement and Palace are rightly awarded a free kick.
Sturridge teases Moxey on the right before nonchalantly rolling a pass into the path of the overlapping Sterling. The youngster's cross is deflected as it arrows towards Suarez on the penalty spot though, which diverts the flight of the ball into the waiting arms of Speroni.
Holloway decided the time was ripe to make a change, and he has done just that by making two. Jose Campana and Dwight Gayle start the second half at the expense of Jerome and Kebe.
Suarez gets the second half underway in Liverpool...
STAT: That Gerrard penalty takes him to 99 Premier League goals. Not bad.
Suarez has been outstanding for Liverpool since returning from his 10-match ban at Sunderland last week, scoring three goals already in just one-and-a-half games. He and Sturridge have combined very very well this afternoon, and have been at the heart of all of the home side's positive play against a distinctly lacklustre Crystal Palace.
HALF-TIME: LIVERPOOL 3-0 CRYSTAL PALACE Brendan Rodgers' side are cruising at the interval after outclassing their opponents in the first half. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge gave them a two-goal lead before the game was 20 minutes old, before Steven Gerrard coolly dispatched a penalty past Julian Speroni in the 38th minute to make it 3-0.
45' + 2'
And there is the half-time whistle! Palace players and supporters will welcome a 15-minute break from what has been a very one-sided affair at Anfield.
45' + 1'
SPERONI SAVES FROM SUAREZ! Liverpool are flying as we approach half-time. The Palace goalkeeper has just pulled off another fine stop to deny the home side, this time from Suarez after he shuffled the ball on to his right foot and hammered a shot towards goal from 12 yards.
STURRIDGE SHOOTS STRAIGHT AT SPERONI! The in-form striker shows a touch of greed by firing an effort at goal from a tight angle on the right when really he should have pulled the ball back to the onrushing Gerrard.
A wayward effort from Jedinak just about sums up Palace's afternoon so far. The visiting side's captain finds himself in a pocket of space 30 yards from goal and opts to try his luck from distance. He will have wished he hadn't though, as the ball finished up nearer the corner flag than Mignolet's goal.
STAT: Palace have now conceded seven goals from set piece situations this season, which is the most in the Premier League.
MOSES HITS THE BAR! The Merseyside club are toying with Palace at the moment – their play is resembling a training ground exercise as they break into the box at will. The former Palace forward is the latest player to nearly get his name on the scoresheet, but his close-range effort crashes off the crossbar. It looked easier to score there!
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GERRARD SCORES THE SPOT-KICK! He calmly sweeps the ball past Speroni and into the bottom corner to give his team a three-goal lead before half-time.
STERLING WINS A PENALTY FOR LIVERPOOL! Moxey pulls the wing-back to the floor as he tries to race into the box on the right and the home side have a chance to make it 3-0.
Dean Moxey dispossesses Sterling on the left and quickly feeds the ball out to Chamakh. The striker goes haring down the wing with the ball at his feet, but then plays a hapless path towards Jerome that is picked off by the Liverpool defence.
I was a bit hesitant to clamber aboard the SAS bandwagon but the understanding between Suarez and Sturridge has been breathtaking at times in this first half. A moment ago the latter just played a superb back heel into the path of his team-mate in a crowded penalty area, much to the delight of the Liverpool supporters.
STAT: Palace have now gone 300 minutes without a Premier League goal.
SAKHO BREATHES A SIGH OF RELIEF! The former PSG man nearly slices the ball into his own net from six yards while trying to divert Jerome's cross from the left behind. He's laughing about it now, but that would be a different story if the ball had flashed the other side of the post!
Palace work the ball nicely on the edge of the Liverpool box, but at the vital moment O'Keefe does not get enough on his throughball to Kebe. If he'd got that right Kebe would have been through one-on-one with Mignolet!
FABULOUS STOP FROM MIGNOLET! The Liverpool goalkeeper pulls off a brilliant reaction stop to keep his side two goals up. Jerome's strike from distance was going some way wide, but Kebe diverted it goalwards on the penalty spot, only for Mignolet to throw out an arm and parry the ball away.
A timely interception from Sakho means Chamakh is unable to get a shot away for Palace. The French defender is limping as a result of his good defensive work though, and that could be a problem for the hosts.
STAT: Including today, Sturridge has either scored or assisted 16 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool.
It now looks like the visitors are reverting to their tried-and-unsuccessful 4-4-2. They have got some task on their hands to get back into this game against a rampant Reds side.
Holloway's team started the game boldly with Kebe drifting in from the left wing to create 4-3-3 rather than their usual 4-4-2, but Liverpool have made them pay for that with a clinical display of finishing in the first 20 minutes.
That duo combine again to nearly score a third goal! Suarez flicks a ball into the path of Sturridge in a central position 30 yards from goal, and he plays it back into the path of his team-mate, who then bursts into the box on the left and whips an enticing ball across the face of goal. But for a fantastic interception from Delaney, Sturridge would have had a simple finish for 3-0!
Liverpool have come racing out of the blocks here. Palace's defence cannot live with Sturridge and Suarez!
Goal Daniel Sturridge
STURRIDGE MAKES IT 2-0!! SAS!! The England international scores a marvellous second for the hosts. He received the ball on the left wing, drove at goal, turned Delaney inside-out with some neat footwork, and then lashed an effort past Speroni and into the far corner with his left foot.
Speroni parries an effort from Sturridge out for a corner as Liverpool go in search of a second goal hot on the heels of Suarez's opener.
Assist José Enrique
Goal Luis Suárez
SUAREZ BREAKS THE DEADLOCK!! The Uruguay international appeared to have lost control of the ball inside the Palace box after exchanging passes with Enrique on the left. Suarez slipped as he moved into a central position, but still somehow managed to sweep the ball into the bottom left corner from 10 yards. Advantage to Liverpool!
Sterling at right wing-back. Thoughts? It was always going to be a slight risk for Rodgers playing the diminutive winger in a more defensive role, and so far he has been nowhere to be seen. Palace are quite openly targetting the space on the left where Sterling should be, and so far are getting some joy down that wing.
Enrique flings a dangerous cross into the Palace box which lands at the feet of Moses on the penalty spot. The bustling attacker miscontrols the ball with his first touch though, and it runs away from him and into the waiting arms of Speroni.
Yellow Card Stuart O'Keefe
YELLOW FOR O'KEEFE! The Englishman is the first player into Howard Webb's little black book after flying into a challenge with Mamadou Sakho and catching the Liverpool centre-back.
Kebe is causing some mischief for the visitors in the early exchanges here. Ostensibly playing on the left side of midfield for Holloway's side, he has been drifting all over the shop and linking well with the likes of Chamakh and Puncheon so far.
Jimmy Kebe slips Jason Puncheon in on the left-hand side of the Liverpool box and he dinks an inviting cross towards Jerome after evading the attentions of Toure but the former Birmingham City forward's header is just off target.
The exciting attacking triumvirate of Suarez, Sturridge and Moses have started brightly for the hosts, weaving their way into the Palace box with some short neat passes. No real attempt on goal yet though.
Gerrard has a chance to test the Palace defence's aerial prowess but his high free kick is child's play for Delaney, who comfortably heads the ball away from danger.
Victor Moses lines up for Liverpool today against the club where he started his career at the age of 11, after moving to England from Nigeria. The attacker spent nine years at Palace before joining Wigan in 2010.
A red mist sweeps across the pitch following some exuberant pre-match behaviour from some of the Liverpool fans. Or it may have been Holloway with the flare, who knows.
Stuart O'Keefe tries to thread a ball through to the unpredictable Marouane Chamakh, but Martin Skrtel has other ideas as he races in to steal the ball for the hosts.
Palace get the ball rolling at Anfield, but soon lose the ball after plumping an ambitious pass forwards in the direction of Cameron Jerome.
Holloway is singing along to You'll Never Walk Alone. I'm not sure how I feel about that – he's the opposition team's manager.
The teams are in the tunnel at Anfield. Suarez is joined by his new-born son Benjy, and his three-year-old daughter, Delfina. A colleague of mine has just likened the frequency of the Suarez family's public appearances to a politician during an election campaign. The Uruguayan is certainly a love-hate figure for football fans. Another similarity perhaps.
STAT: No side has conceded more goals from set-piece situations this season than Crystal Palace (5, the same as Sunderland).
Who loves an ominous stat?
The Liverpool front-pairing of Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, dubbed SAS, had the club's fans salivating following their brilliant showing against Sunderland on Sunday, and some sections of the media have labelled them the most dangerous strike partnership in the Premier League. Agree? Diasgree? Post your thoughts in the comments box to the right of this commentary to have your say!
CRYSTAL PALACE TEAM NEWS: Ian Holloway was lamenting the loss of Kagisho Dikgacoi and Danny Gabbidon ahead of his side's trip to Merseyside. But for a one-game suspension for Dikgacoi following his sending off against Manchester United earlier in the season, both players had started every league game for the London side before today. Damien Delaney returns from injury while Stuart O'Keefe, Cameron Jerome and Jason Puncheon also come in to the starting line-up, while Dwight Gayle drops to the bench.
LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS: Lucas Lleiva is suspended for this match having picked up an eye-catching five yellow cards in just eight games, which means the home side are Brazilian-less, with Philippe Coutinho still sidelined with a shoulder injury. Joe Allen and Glen Johnson are also ruled out through injury. Rodgers opts for an attacking XI as Raheem Sterling replaces Lucas and Jordan Henderson slots in at central midfield alongside Steven Gerrard. How Sterling copes at right wing-back will definitely be something to keep an eye on! Luis Suarez, meanwhile, (remember him?), starts his first competitive match at Anfield since nibbling Branislav Ivanovic back in April.
SUBS: Price, Inniss, Campana, Guedioura, Bolasie, Gayle, Phillips
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-4-2): Speroni; Ward, Mariappa, Delaney, Moxey; Puncheon, Jedinak, O'Keefe, Kebe; Jerome; Chamakh
SUBS: Jones, Ibe, Wisdom, Agger, Aspas, Ilori, Alberto
LIVERPOOL (3-5-2): Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho; Sterling, Henderson, Moses, Gerrard, Enrique; Suarez, Sturridge
The teams are in, so let's have a quick look at those before this match gets underway...
The day after it was announced that Kenny Dalglish would take his place on the Liverpool board as a non-executive director, his successor as manager, Brendan Rodgers, could lead the Reds back to the summit of the Premier League. With Arsenal not playing West Brom until tomorrow afternoon, a win for Rodgers' men would see them sitting in first place for at least 24 hours.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and welcome to our LIVE coverage of a Premier League clash which sees second-placed Liverpool take on second-from-bottom Crystal Palace at Anfield. My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through the twists and turns of this game. Let's hope it's a cracker!
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