It was always going to be tough against the outgoing champions desperate to grab a Champions League place for next season but this was not the worst result at Anfield. It did however signal the end of an era for the Eagles with Roy Hodgson, Ray Lewington and a few players leaving the club ahead of what will be an interesting summer at Selhurst Park.
23rd May 2021
Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace
Anfield, Anfield Road, Liverpool L4 0TH
Referee: Andre Marriner – Assistants: Richard West, Scott Ledger – Fourth official: Tony Harrington – VAR: Paul Tierney – Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart
BOOKINGS – Jordan Ayew (71), Trent Alexander-Arnold (71), Jairo Riedewald (83), James Milner (86)
RED CARD – none
Sadio Mane (36, 74)
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
After a bright start, the result was only going one way after Palace wasted a couple of decent chances before the hosts took the lead. At just a goal down there was always a hope of getting back level but the Eagles huffed and puffed but did not pressure the hosts enough before the game was killed off with a second. There have been worse performances at Anfield, but there have been better, however, it pretty much summed up the season as a whole ahead of the wind of change about to sweep through the club at just about the right time.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
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.
“I can understand that Sky promoted this game as far more important to the opposition but unacceptable in that it was like watching Liverpool TV. The Zaha and Townsend goal scoring opportunities in the opening ten minutes aside, it was a backs to the wall passive performance with little hint of ever wanting to take the game to Liverpool. Zaha spent the rest of the game an isolated figure up front rarely having any support from midfield. So damage limitation was the way it panned out.
Again the performance highlighted where our squad needs significant investment if we have any hope of progressing next season under a new management team. For the record, my man of the match goes to Mitchell who kept Salah relatively quiet and at a good distance away from potential goal scoring areas. Mitchell has certainly been one of the positives from this season. He has developed into a fine Premier League defender. Other honourable mentions this season for various reasons go to Benteke, Kouyate and Guaita. A 14th place finish on 44 points in the league was about par. For next season with the players who are out of contract, I would offer short term deals to Ward, Cahill, Townsend and Benteke. We would then potentially require at least five new additions with possibly one or two players progressing from our Academy.
As we complete the end of our 8th consecutive season in the top flight, which in itself is a fine achievement, today marks a closure of the Roy Hodgson four year managerial era. His era has certainly been one of ebbs and flows following the failed de Boer project. Personally, for the games I attended, the highlights of Hodgson’s tenure have been the 5-0 home win against Leicester in 2018 and historic away wins at United, Arsenal and Newcastle. Ultimately, Hodgson delivered stability by comfortably securing Premier League status since his appointment. However, for some supporters it was sometimes at the expense of attacking verve and style when Hodgson’s pragmatic and cautious approach predominantly prevailed.
Above all, Hodgson conducted himself at all times with integrity and loyalty reflecting a true gentleman of our beautiful game. In years to come many of our supporters will look back fondly on his time at the helm. After Sir Steve, Roy goes down in the Palace annals as our most successful manager in the top flight. My full respect to a Croydon boy who qualified as a PE teacher and who then went on to manage 21 teams during the course of over 40 years across Europe at the highest level. Thank you Mr Hodgson and from all of us inside and outside the game enjoy your well earned retirement.”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Once again, nothing he could do with either goal but was called upon on a couple of occasions to make saves to keep the score down.
2 JOEL WARD (6) – Arguably culpable for both goals but the first there was a real question of a push which was not even mentioned. Made the joint most dribbles in the game.
24 GARY CAHILL (CAPTAIN! – 6) – Tried to keep the back line in order throughout the game in the face of a formidable front line intent on winning the game.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (6) – Could not make two starts in a row before getting injured again. The guys cannot catch a break but really seems to be made of glass. Replaced by 15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) on 58 minutes who provided some energy to the midfield again in an effort to seek an equaliser.
27 TYRICK MITCHELL (TEB MOM! – 7) – Stood up well against Salah for much of the game and a big reason why the Egyptian did not get the goal he needed for the Golden Boot. Made the most tackles in the game.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) – Started in midfield, moved to central defence following injury to Tomkins and ended up on the sidelines due to injury. Replaced by 34 MARTIN KELLY (6) for his first league appearance of the season.
22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) – One fantastic challenge in the box to toe the ball away from Salah but it was that challenge that ended his game as he seemed to pull something as he stretched. Replaced by 3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (6) on 88 minutes in what is likely to be the last appearance by the Dutchman in a Palace shirt.
44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (BOOKED! – 6) – Looked like he was chasing shadows for much of the game in what was a disappointing game.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (7) – The one most likely to get a goal for Palace. One speculative effort from a free kick nearly caught out the goalkeeper and one through on goal that he really should have slotted home.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (6) – Played more central but was living off scraps and was well marshalled whenever he got the ball.
9 JORDAN AYEW (BOOKED! – 6) – Lucky not to have been sent off after a clash with Alexander-Arnold. Tried to carry the ball and create but failed dismally.
1 Jack Butland, 14 Jean-Philippe Mateta, 17 Nathaniel Clyne, 39 Jesurun Rak-Sakyi
1 Allison, 66 Alexander-Arnold, 47 Phillips, 46 R Williams, 26 Robertson, 6 Thiago Alcantara, 3 Fabinho, 5 Wijnaldum, 11Mohamed Salah, 9 Firmino, 10 Mane
SUBSTITUTES – 7 Milner (replaced Wijnaldum on 78 mins), 13 Adrian, 14 Henderson, 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (replaced Robertson on 91 mins), 17 Jones, 20 Jota (replaced Firmino on 91 mins), 21 Tsimikas, 23 Shaqiri, 76 N Williams
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON – “We always knew it would be a very hard game. They have some great players. I’m very proud of the performance. We played a top, top team. As a last game of the season, with having nothing to play for, we gave them a really good game. Everything I would like to say about the team I will say tonight. It’s quite incredible what the players have done. It’s been a wonderful time. I would like to pay a tribute to the coaching staff I have had around me in the last four years. They have been so good and have made my life so much easier. I was able to step back more and more and they stepped up. I owe so much to them. I have thanked the players but I should have spent more time thanking them too.”
JURGEN KLOPP – “We found a way into the game, scored a great goal. Do you take more risk, or control even more? The second goal was so helpful. I didn’t know about the other matches. I’m so proud of what they’ve done the last 10 or 15 games and the reaction of the team in bad times. Eight wins out of 10, two draws, that’s impressive. Energy makes all the difference and we got a lot of energy from the fans. It was not our year for the championship. I’m really happy with third place.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Sadio Mane (8.9) while the most shots were from Mohamed Salah (6). The most tackles were by Tyrick Mitchell (6) while Georginio Wijnaldum and Joel Ward (3) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 7.00 – 6.34
- Total shots: 19 – 5
- Shots on target: 5 – 4
- Possession: 69.8% – 30.2%
- Pass success: 85% – 61%
- Passes: 585 – 259
- Dribbles: 7 – 7
- Aerials won: 13 – 13
- Tackles: 15 – 23
- Fouls: 10 – 8
- Corners: 14 – 1
- Saves: 4 – 3
- Dispossessed: 13 – 9
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace ended the season in 14th place in the Premier League with 44 points from 38 games played, a point behind Wolves in 13th and a point ahead of Southampton in 15th. That is the 3rd time Palace have finished 14th in the Premier League in this run of 8 seasons in the top division.