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LFC Final Word: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Welcome to the LFC Final Word. In this series, I provide an in-depth analysis of games from a Liverpool supporter's perspective. Match Facts Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Anfield Saturday 19th January, 15:00 Result Liverpool 4 - 3 Crystal Palace Betting Results Over 2.5 goals: win Over 3.5 goals: win Match Summary With the sight of Premier League glory slowly coming into focus, albeit seemingly far out in the distance, every game feels like a cup final for Liverpool supporters. It would be easy to fall into the trap of looking too far ahead and planning where and when the Reds will or won't drop points along the way. However, at this point in time, the perhaps overused phrase of 'one game at a time' feels like it could help to reduce anxiety levels as we get to the business end of the Premier League season. I can't help but feel that Liverpool are sailing through icy waters at the moment, touted by many as time goes by as the ship that cannot be sunk, with supporters on board remaining hopeful that we don't meet the same demise as the Titanic. Crystal Palace are the kind of team that Liverpool supporters worry about facing off against. They're nowhere near the level of the Reds in squad quality but possess a style of counter-attack play that can catch any team off guard and that's exactly what happened yesterday afternoon. For all the Liverpool dominance in possession statistics, Crystal Palace found it far too easy to create something from chances that came their way. This was always going to be a big test with Milner filling in as a makeshift right-back against Zaha as Liverpool's defensive crisis continues to be a thorn in their side. A pacey, skilful winger marauding down the wing against an out of position ageing squad player is a recipe for disaster and it came as no surprise to me that Liverpool conceded in the way they did. In fact, most of the goals conceded can be explained away pretty easily and it's not something that really concerns me in the long run. As I made my way back to Lime Street Station, I found myself talking to a black cab driver about the game and realised that I was feeling much more positive than I usually would about a 4 - 3 victory over a side languishing in the lower tier of the Premier League. At the start of the day, Liverpool were facing 16 cup finals. It doesn't matter how the points are obtained as long as the Reds keep adding them to the league table. As I took my cab ride away from Anfield, Liverpool had succeeded in their mission of winning a cup final. 15 to go. Of course, there is much more to it than this in reality and the last thing Liverpool supporters want to see is their team struggling to get over the finish line. Yesterday didn't feel like that, however, and it was refreshing to see that should the defensive line have an off-day, a rare occurrence so far this season, then the attacking players can step up and grind out a result. With the front three of Salah, Firmino, and Mane all finding the net against Crystal Palace, it feels like Liverpool are in good hands. Although Liverpool were nowhere near their best yesterday, performances from Robertson and Fabinho were worthy of praise and Shaqiri looked sharp in his cameo appearance. Liverpool's lack of cup competitions may have been the source of mockery earlier in the season but it's fair to say that it's of great benefit to the team at this point. The Reds will now go away for some warm weather training over the next week while they spend the next 10 days resting and preparing for the home game against Leicester. Other teams around them will have FA Cup fixtures to contend with and this is the kind of distraction and mileage on the legs that Liverpool really don't want to be dealing with at this point in the season. The Final Word Should the victories keep coming then scorelines won't be remembered at the end of the season. Although Liverpool conceded 3 goals at home in this fixture, they added another 3 points to their tally and put pressure on Manchester City once again. Although expected to defeat Huddersfield comfortably, Liverpool can only affect the outcome of their own games and they've executed the plan perfectly in this round of fixtures. Attention will now turn to Leicester who will come to Anfield on 30th January for a game that Liverpool supporters will hope to be another cup final victory and one step closer to the Premier League title.