LONDON: Mohamed Salah won a first-half penalty converted by James Milner and also played in Sadio Mane for a late goal as Liverpool beat 10-man Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday for its second straight win to open the Premier League season.
In a typical all-action display by Salah, the Egypt forward was also the player fouled by Aaron Wan-Bissaka that earned the Palace right back a straight red card in the 75th minute because he was the last man.
The score was 1-0 at the time, Milner having slotted in the penalty on the stroke of halftime after Salah tumbled under a challenge from Mamadou Sakho.
Mane secured victory in the third minute of stoppage time when he ran onto a pass from his own half by Salah, advanced half the length of the field, and rounded the goalkeeper to shoot into an empty net at Selhurst Park.
“It was a very tough game. We knew before the game it would be,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said. “I don’t think the big teams ever win here comfortably. I think a well-deserved three points.”
It was an accomplished performance from Juergen Klopp’s side who looked solid at the back as well as a threat going forward and Liverpool will be delighted that after a 4-0 opening day win over West Ham United they made it six points and two clean sheets from their opening two games.
While many will feel that Liverpool’s early form has confirmed pre-season predictions that they will be the main challengers to champions Manchester City for the title this season, Klopp said he had no interest in such talk.
“It’s very early. I couldn’t care less really. We are not in a race with other Premier League teams each weekend. I was not 100 percent sure tonight in the first half that we would score,” said the German.
“You have to play it as it is and be a real challenger, play ugly, do all that type of stuff. Our target is to be a difficult opponent. It is too soon to say anything after two match days. You can discuss whatever you want — just do it without us.”
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2018