Terrific Eagles Deserved More After Pushing League Leaders All The Way

This was a performance to be proud of as Palace pushed and threatened Liverpool right to the final whistle but came away with nothing to show for it.


23rd November 2019


Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU




REFEREE – Kevin Friend

ASSISTANTS – Matthew Wilkes, Adrian Holmes

FOURTH OFFICIAL – Oliver Langford

VAR: Chris Kavanagh, Sian Massey-Ellis (assistant)


Fabinho (53)


Mane (49), Zaha (82), Firmino (85)


Andros Townsend as voted for by our wonderful Twitter followers.


This run of fixtures has not been kind to us with just a point from the last five games. That will look poor in comparison to the start of the season but this performance against the Premier League leaders will provide plenty of optimism for the run of fixtures to the end of the year. It was an energetic showing from the Palace side that took the game to a lacklustre Liverpool who had their moments but were put under plenty of pressure by the hosts. Many expected a thumping at the hands of the Reds, but it was far from it. Palace could have and should have taken at least a point.


The biggest VAR decision so far this season at Selhurst Park as the goal from James Tomkins was ruled out for a push on Dejan Lovren by Jordan Ayew. The arguments will rumble on but the touch was slight and hardly enough to send a big brusing defender to the ground. The Croat was not going to get to ball so Palace can feel rightly hard done by the decision. VAR strikes once again even after the consultation over the international break.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“Disappointing that VAR is again a major talking point of the game when on a positive note our team played on the front foot with purpose throughout. I still don’t quite understand the process that when a referee clearly sees an incident, makes a decision and is then over ruled by the VAR official.

However, the performance was our best of the season so far and we deserved a share of the spoils. Tactically we achieved the balance of restricting chances for Liverpool whilst still creating goal scoring opportunities for ourselves. As against Leicester, the only disappointing aspect was conceding again at a corner kick. It has probably cost us two points over those two games. Every player played their part today putting a proper shift in for the team against the potential Champions.

There will be much debate about best individual performances but I think Luka, Tomkins and Townsend (his best game this season) all deserve worthy mentions in dispatches. Today marks the end of a tough run of games. On paper there is an easier fixture programme over the next couple of months but as we all know, the game isn’t played on paper! However, if we show the same level of performance seen today over the next period then we can begin looking upwards in the league table rather than over our shoulders again.”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Continued confidently between the sticks making a number of good saves, a couple of rogue kicks aside. Got a hand to the ball for the first goal, pushing it onto the post but needed a bit of luck as it came back off the other post and in.

2 JOEL WARD (6) – We all thought the worst when he limped off at Chelsea but was good to see him in the starting line-up, only to see him limp off midway through the second half. Up until then he had stood firm against the all star attack. Replaced by 34 MARTIN KELLY (6) on 70 minutes who slotted in well.

5 JAMES TOMKINS (7) – Solid game for the centre back who looks to be getting back into the groove since his return to the starting line-up. Struggled to contain Mane for his goal along with Cahill.

24 GARY CAHILL (6) – Still a question mark as to who is his best partner but he talked the back line through this one proving his experience as an invaluable asset to this side.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (6) – Still struggling with his defensive duties but linked up very well going forward and says a lot about the way we played as to how much he was allowed to push on and support the attack.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6) – Still a little off colour but he played his part in this one and noticibly vocal towards the officials.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Strong in the tackle, in the air and deceptively quick on the ground. One of the stars of this team performance before taking a knock which saw him replaced. Replaced by 15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) on 72 minutes who found it difficult to get into the game. Clearly fouled in the build up to the winning goal but nothing given.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7) – Another good game from the Scot who worked tirelessly up and down the pitch. Should have stayed down in the build up to corner that led to the winning goal as he clearly had a head injury.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – GOAL!) – After a few suspect games, he shone in this one and did the simple things a lot more than he has in recent weeks. Played a part in one of the moves of the game on the half hour and involved in the build up that led to his goal which he took well. Was a constant problem to the opposition.

10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (8 – ASSIST!) – Excellent game, full of running and energy. Kept running at the opposition back line and battled for the ball at every opportunity. Nice touch to set up Wilf for his goal.

9 JORDAN AYEW (7) – Continues to play the lone striker role well by holding up the ball and harrassing the back line. Guilty of placing his hands on big Croatian defender Lovren which ended up denying Palace the lead. Replaced by 17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7) on 76 minutes who looked a different man and provided a real injection to the Eagles. Involved in the build up to the goal and had a great bicycle kick effort which everyone thought was in. Perhaps the time has come to give him another start and let Ayew have a deserved break.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 6 Scott Dann, 7 Max Meyer, 22 James McCarthy


1 Alisson, 66 Alexander-Arnold, 6 Lovren, 4 van Dijk, 26 Robertson, 14 Henderson, 3 Fabinho, 5 Wijnaldum, 10 Mane, 9 Firmino, 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain

Substitutes – 13 Adrian, 7 Milner (replaced Henderson 79), 8 Keita, 11 Salah, 12 Gomez (replaced Firmino 89), 20 Lallana, 27 Origi (replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain 64)


ROY HODGSON – “The players should be congratulating themselves on taking a point from the leaders but it wasn’t to be. I have praise for my own team for having a go, if you can be bold enough to praise your team when you’re not winning. Throughout there was not an awful lot of clear-cut chances. That was testament to the defensive work we did throughout the team. The fact is you must take your chances and we only took one of ours. The late winner is a cruel blow but I have nothing to complain about from my side. I want to be positive, I think it was our best performance so far this season.”

JURGEN KLOPP – “At the end we won the game and it was deserved as well. There were not too many mistakes but the goal they scored was good. We have to bring plans together after the international break. I’m happy with the result and big parts of the performance because I know it’s not possible to be brilliant every game.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Sadio Mane (7.8) while the most shots came from Wilfried Zaha (5). The most tackles were made by Jordan Henderson (5) as Andros Townsend (4) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.60 – 6.93
  • Total shots: 16 – 12
  • Shots on target: 6 – 4
  • Possession: 40.6% – 59.4%
  • Pass success: 75% – 82%
  • Dribbles: 9 – 3
  • Aerials won: 22 – 22
  • Tackles: 13 – 23
  • Corners: 9 – 8
  • Dispossessed: 15 – 3


Palace are 13th in the Premier League with 15 points from 13 games, level on points with Brighton in 12th and Newcastle United in 14th.


30/11/2019 Burnley (a)

03/12/2019 Bournemouth (h)

07/12/2019 Watford (a)



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