Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool: Rampant Reds top at Christmas once again

A supreme display of clinical finishing from Liverpool means the defending champions open up a six-point gap at the summit before their title rivals play across the weekend, with second-placed Tottenham entertaining Leicester, who are fourth, on Sunday.

It also equalled Jurgen Klopp’s highest margin of victory as Liverpool boss as his side looked far more reminiscent of the team that stormed to a first league title in 30 years last term.

The visitors – who welcomed back Joel Matip from injury and handed a start to the fit-again Naby Keita in SE25 – needed just three minutes to take the lead, with Minamino justifying Klopp’s decision to initially rest Salah as he worked space well and fired home his first Premier League goal from inside the penalty area.

Palace actually responded well to going behind so early and had half-chances to equalise through captain Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew – drafted in to replace the suspended Christian Benteke as Gary Cahill, former Reds defender Nathaniel Clyne and Jeffrey Schlupp also earned recalls – as well as Wilfried Zaha and Schlupp, with the statistics showing three shots on target apiece at the interval.

However, Liverpool’s superior finishing was the obvious difference in the first 45 as Mane continued his fine scoring run against Palace with a fine touch and lethal effort before man-of-the-match Firmino – with no shortage of help from Andy Robertson – started and completed a sublime counter-attack shortly before the interval.

While Palace were competitive in the first half, they were woeful and demoralised after the break as captain Henderson – who could win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday night – scored a rare goal with a superb right-footed strike that drifted away from Eagles goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and into the far corner.

Mane clipped the post before cutting a frustrated figure as he was replaced by Salah, with Minamino missing a good chance for 5-0 before Firmino received a perfectly-weighted pass from Salah and produced a smart dinked finish over Guaita. Trent Alexander-Arnold was integral to both the fourth and fifth goals on his 150th senior Liverpool outing.

Things only got worse for Palace as Salah set about getting in on the act. First he headed in from close range after Joel Matip had initially met a corner, before receiving possession from fellow replacement Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and stepping inside to produce a dazzling curled effort that flew into the top corner and left Guaita with no chance.

Liverpool now get the chance to have a rare week-long break from the hectic 2020/21 season grind before welcoming Sam Allardyce’s West Brom to Anfield on December 27.

This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League.

Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri- Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.

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