Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has discussed how they planned to contain Liverpool in their 1-1 Premier League draw on Monday.
Having lost their season opener 2-0 against Arsenal, the Eagles went into the game at Anfield seeking to make amends and they took the lead in the 32nd minute when the Ivory Coast international latched onto Ebere Eze’s through-ball and slotted past Alisson.
Liverpool suffered a blow in the 57th minute when Darwin Nunez was sent off but despite playing a man down, they levelled matters four minutes later courtesy of Luis Diaz.
Zaha has explained how the decision by manager Patrick Vieira to switch to a five-man defence worked in their favour in the trip to Merseyside.
“We’ve worked on that the whole week,” Zaha told SkySports as quoted by the club's official website.
“Obviously for different teams there are different formations. That’s how the gaffer thought we could hurt them today [Monday].
“We had a few chances. We are working so hard, it’s difficult to tuck every single one away but I'm happy with the one that went in today.
“We are a good team. We are handling the big teams well, so I'm very optimistic about the season – especially with the way that we’re playing.”
Zaha's first goal of the season was beautifully taken and he revealed what was on his mind when he received the pass from Eze.
“They are pushing forward, and I was between both of the defenders,” said Zaha adding: “I was looking for the space in behind. It only takes one chance and I’m happy I took it today.
“As soon as Eze has played it through, I already had in my head what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to let the ‘keeper set himself, so I took it early.”
Meanwhile, Vieira has praised Eze, Zaha and Ghana international Jordan Ayew for their tireless work out of possession which he said was important as their on-the-ball brilliance.
“In possession we all know what they are capable of doing,” Vieira said of Eze and Zaha, in his post-match press conference. “Today we needed a big performance out of possession.
“Zaha didn’t show any kind of frustration. He didn’t touch the ball much, but he was really dangerous. Eze, the more time he was going, the more he felt comfortable in the game."
The former Arsenal midfielder added: “When you’re looking at Jordan [Ayew] and Ebs and Wilf, they ran a lot today behind the ball. What I’m really glad and happy about is that those players who like to have the ball at their feet didn’t show any frustration today.
“They worked with the rest of the players. We need to have that to win more football matches.”
The Eagles will return home to host Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on Saturday.