The Reds were made to fight early on, as a well-organised Palace threatened Alisson on a number of occasions, but eventually came through with the victory.
With Jurgen Klopp having made four changes in midweek and six more against Palace, it was a productive afternoon for the Reds.
HENRY: On the whole, it has to go down as an impressive debut for Konate, who rarely looked out of place against awkward opponents.
Was he perfect? No. But he looks like a centre-back who has all the ingredients to become a truly formidable player over time, and a long-term key man.
He dealt well with the physical threat of both Benteke and Edouard, and his pace came in handy at times, which is such a key attribute for any centre-back.
Without his own lightning speed, Van Dijk wouldn’t be close to the same player, for example.
There is clearly a rawness to Konate that we are going to have to accept – jumping into tackles, getting caught out of position and so on – so I don’t think he will be a regular starter for the time being. He is only 22, after all.
This was a promising start, though.
JACK: I agree with Henry that the quality is clearly there, though I feel Konate is a work in progress at present.
As it stands, he should remain fourth-choice centre-back, but these outings alongside Van Dijk and likely Matip will serve him well as he adjusts to the system at Liverpool.
What I particularly liked about his debut was how he remained patient in challenges with Benteke and Zaha, both of whom offer very different threats, without resorting to rash challenges.
My biggest gripe, though, is his use of the ball – we saw it throughout pre-season, too, with Konate seemingly too eager to impress in possession.
Klopp described the game as a “harsh lesson” for life in the Premier League, and Konate will no doubt benefit.How important has Mane been?
HENRY: Mane’s a funny one. I think it’s now easy to forget just how great he has been for Liverpool, because of last season’s woes and the manner in which Salah is now the undisputed star attacker.
I still think Mane is well short of his best, but there are signs that he is getting there.
Most of his game is good but his final decision is so poor and erratic too often. Then again, he’s still getting goals and his numbers remain good compared to most.
He just needs to stop losing his head in the key moments and all will be fine – he is too good not to recover fully and remind everyone how special he is.
JACK: There is certainly a case for Mane being the most important signing of the Klopp era, having been the forward to kickstart the rise in qualifying for the Champions League.
Henry has touched upon the struggle he has faced over the past year-and-a-half, and it is clear that Mane is perhaps not the player he once was.
However, put him up against most other Premier League strikers and he would still be one of the best, with three goals in six games so far this season a testament to his enduring quality.And who comes in vs. Norwich?
HENRY: Put simply, I really couldn’t care less about the League Cup. It’s a trophy, yes, but it really doesn’t gauge a team’s success whatsoever.
For that reason, I would like to think many changes will be made at Norwich all over the pitch.
Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi should also come in and I would personally be terrified if any genuine key players started. It would be great to see youngster Kaide Gordon given a chance at some point, too.
If Liverpool win, great. If not, so be it. I fully respect that many won’t feel this way, though, and that I may well be in the minority.
Like Henry, I’d go with almost wholesale changes, with Kelleher, Phillips, Gomez, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino and Origi all certainties to start.
Klopp’s rotation against Palace would suggest that the likes of Andy Robertson and Joel Matip could come in, though, and it always seems to be the case that Liverpool go stronger than expected in these games.
It could be a good opportunity for the likes of Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who have been utility players so far this season.
Salah scored his 130th goal for the Reds in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, overtaking Sam Raybould to become the Reds’ 10th-highest scorer of all time.
It is a remarkable achievement for the 29-year-old – the only non-British player in the top 10 – and underlines his importance to Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Over the weekend, Salah’s former team-mate, Micah Richards, explained how the forward would discuss his desire to play for Liverpool during their time together at Fiorentina, suggesting he should end his career at Anfield if possible.
And as talks continue over a contract extension, the No. 11 has acknowledged supporters for their role in his incredible form:
You, the fans, keep me going. You give me more strength than I think you’ll ever know. pic.twitter.com/HgNx8YbTtS
The hope is that Salah will sign a new long-term deal with Liverpool that could see him move ahead of the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard into the top five.
It could be one of the most important decisions in the club’s recent history, with the Egyptian poised to cement himself as a legendary figure.
His latest goal came in a convincing win over a Palace side who threatened throughout, with Klopp having made six changes to his lineup from the midweek victory over AC Milan.
The veteran started, and impressed, at right-back after Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out due to illness on Saturday morning, with Milner joking in an interview with LFCTV that the No. 66 had a bout of “Zaha-itis”:
“Trent’s definitely going to get some ribbing for that. A bit of Zaha-itis or something like that!
“It was probably two, three hours before the game, really, [when I found out].
“But that’s what we’re prepared for, that’s why we train as a team together. The training is done so anyone’s ready at any time.
“That’s my job when I’m needed, to be ready.”
Well done boys! +3?? pic.twitter.com/TlA7tCi5TD
It could be, even, that none of those who started against Palace are retained for that clash, with freshness required throughout a busy run for Liverpool.
Williams, who joined Swansea on a season-long loan on deadline day, made his second appearance for the Championship club as they fought back from 3-0 down to seal a point.
It was a memorable afternoon for the 20-year-old centre-back as Jamie Paterson, Oliver Ntcham and Joel Piroe scored in the second half, but not wholly for the right reasons.
In a statement on Saturday evening, Swansea confirmed an allegation of racist abuse towards Williams from a Luton supporter in the closing stages of the draw:
“Towards the end of today’s Championship fixture against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, an allegation of racial abuse was made over comments made towards Swansea City’s Rhys Williams from a home spectator.
“An official report was filed with the match official, Tony Harrington, and Bedfordshire Police at full-time.
“Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds because it has no place within football or any walk of life.”
Swansea revealed that Bedfordshire Police were investigating the incident, with both Liverpool and the player’s loan club providing support in the aftermath.
“Rhys has the full backing of everyone at the football club,” Swansea added.
“We are in dialogue with his parent club Liverpool with regards to ensuring the player has all the support he needs.”
Manager Russell Martin has described the situation as “disgusting” and “repulsive,” while Luton reiterated their “zero tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind,” vowing those responsible “will not be welcome back at Kenilworth Road.”
“In my senior career, this is the best frame of mind I have ever been in,” he tells The Athletic. “I am scoring regularly, which is something I have enjoyed doing since I was a young boy. I’m just happy that it’s going well at the moment.”
He celebrated his 24th birthday this week by scoring in Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers. It was Solanke’s fifth goal in six appearances and his impressive form is helping the Championship club make a strong start to their promotion bid.
Life couldn’t be going much better for the one-time England international right now. People are taking note of his performances again and the striker’s vast potential looks like it is being realised.
This is some turnaround given the number of setbacks he suffered after making his Chelsea debut six weeks after his 17th birthday.
Solanke will never forget the day Jose Mourinho singled out him and two close academy friends, Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown, for praise. The club were on a pre-season tour and the Chelsea manager was being asked about the club’s prospects of bringing youth talent into the first-team squad.
“My conscience is simple,” Mourinho said. “If, in a few years, Baker, Brown and Solanke are not national team players, I should blame myself. When they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure.”
Three months later, it appeared Mourinho was going to be accurate as far as Solanke was concerned. The striker became the club’s youngest debutant in the
The Senegal international’s first-half finish against Crystal Palace at Anfield saw him join an elite an illustrious group. Mane is the 18th player in Liverpool’s 128-year history to score 100 goals or more for the club. He reached the feat in 224 appearances and is the 10th quickest to reach the landmark.
The 29-year-old’s strike against Palace means he is the only player in Premier League history to score against the same opponent in a run of nine games. A day of records for the winger then.
The Athletic have taken a look back at some of his best work in a Liverpool shirt as well as a full breakdown of the century.
Where better to start than at the beginning of Mane’s Liverpool odyssey?
The road to his hot 100 started at the Emirates, two months after he joined the club from Southampton under scepticism over his £34 million price tag.
Mane, initially dispatched as a right winger before Mohamed Salah’s arrival the following season, latched onto Adam Lallana’s pass and left defenders Nacho Monreal and Calum Chambers in his wake as he weaved his way into the Arsenal box. He then knitted an excellent finish beyond Petr Cech.
Not only is this a spectacular solo jaunt but it is remembered for the celebrations too.
Instead of legging it to the South East corner, which was going berserk, Mane wanted to thank the man who brought him to Liverpool. Pointing out Jurgen Klopp on the touchline, Mane proceeded to jump on the back of his new boss.
A moment immortalised in tweet form by James Pearce.
Premier League, Anfield
September 18, 2020
Goals: Mane 43′, Salah 78′, Keita 89′Konate debut
The rotation of the defence continued which meant Ibrahima Konate was handed his Reds debut.
There are fewer, if any, more imposing centre-back pairings than Konate and Van Dijk, and it looks like we may get to see this pairing at least a handful of times this season.
Konate showed his strength in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian tumbled to the ground in the area in a moment which was more good defending than a penalty claim.
It was a similar outcome in a one-on-one battle with Christian Benteke, forcing a corner and giving the Belgian little space to work with.
There were rare uncertain moments, such as one error that saw him rushing back to cover against Zaha, but he showed he’s more than capable of catching quick attackers on the break — something he also demonstrated against Palace’s new signing and man of the moment, Odsonne Edouard, late in the game.Full back rotation
The rotation of the full-backs revealed a little more of how Jurgen Klopp will make use of his squad this season.
It would have been difficult to have accommodated a new right-back as well as James Milner, and it was always likely the experienced Englishman would get his games at right-back given the midfield options when everyone is fit.
This then means backup is necessary on the left, and Kostas Tsimikas looks to have settled into Klopp’s system as a like-for-like backup for Robertson after a quiet first season with the club.
There was a scare early on when Zaha got ahead of Milner to an awkward ball, but Alisson saved any blushes by turning the ball onto the post.
Milner went on to do well against Zaha, though, using his experience with some textbook defending even with the obvious gulf in speed. On the other side, Tsimikas’ corners set up both goals.
They peppered the Palace goal with 25 shots in total with an impressive ten on target.
It could have been even more had they not been wasteful at times in the first half when they failed to take opportunities to create chances. Mane launching the ball straight to Vicente Guaita when Salah would have been through with a more simple, composed choice of pass, for example.
His first-half goal was also his ninth in successive appearances against Palace, and his tenth in total against this opposition.
It hadn’t been his best performance up until that point, but as was the case in the game against Leeds, the Senegalese is regularly in the right place at the right time, and that was the case for this goal.On heavy rotation
Rotation seems to be a theme at the moment with Klopp using the players available to him in an attempt to manage workloads and prevent the type of injury crisis that occurred last season.
There could be opportunities for some of the players who featured in the UEFA Youth League squad against AC Milan last week.
Liverpool haven’t done well in the domestic cup competitions under Klopp, but these competitions remain a chance for squad players to get more games. They should be motivated enough to take it and help the club progress.
It has been a difficult year for Mane, by his own admission, but throughout a run of poor form the No. 10 has forged on admirably.
The 29-year-old began Saturday’s clash with Palace with a series of rushed moves and fluffed passes, but soon found momentum as he hit the back of the net before half-time.
Since joining Liverpool in 2016, Mane has now scored 100 goals in 224 appearances, becoming only the 18th player to hit a century in the club’s 129-year history.
Sadio Mané has become the 18th player to score 100 competitive goals for Liverpool – and gets himself into the top 10 for fastest to reach the landmark, just ahead of Kenny Dalglish! #LFC #LIVCRY pic.twitter.com/dIavumYkmh
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 18, 2021
With his 100th goal, the Senegalese has drawn level with Keegan in the Reds’ all-time scorers list, having done so in 99 fewer games than the legendary forward.
At a rate of 2.24 games per goal, Mane is the ninth-most productive goalscorer in Liverpool‘s top 20, and at only 30 goals short of Salah and Sam Raybould, could hope to break into the top 10 before his time with the club is up.
Remarkably, Mane also set a Premier League record with his latest strike at Anfield, surpassing the achievement of Van Persie in the process.
Mane has now scored in nine consecutive appearances against Palace, the longest run of any player in the history of the current English top flight against any one opponent.
Van Persie held the record having scored eight times in a row against Stoke, but the Dutchman has seen his feat surpassed by a player who also netted the Premier League‘s fastest hat-trick.
Sadio Mané has scored in nine consecutive league appearances against Crystal Palace – that's two more straight games than any Liverpool player has managed against a single opponent in the club's league history. #LFC #LIVCRY pic.twitter.com/bNukOmWEgM
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 18, 2021
Speaking to BBC Sport after the victory over Palace, Mane joked that he would love to play Patrick Vieira’s side every week.
“I am lucky to score so many goals against Palace. The most important thing was the three points,” he said.
“Right place, right time. I am lucky. And happy. Thank you to all the fans, club and staff. Without them I am nothing.
“I would love to play against Crystal Palace. I am lucky. It would be great to play them every single weekend. In my head, I am always thinking it is possible. I will keep trying and trying and trying.”
Here are five key things from the manager’s post-match press conference on Saturday:
[embedded content]1. “Most hard-fought 3-0 win”
Palace were not without their chances and Alisson was made to work at Anfield, leading Klopp to praise his side for digging in.
“I told the boys after the game this was one of the most hard-fought 3-0 wins I ever saw, we had to give it absolutely everything.
“Today we were not brilliant, but we were good. And accepted the battle Crystal Palace were here for and that’s why I’m really happy about the performance.”2. Keita’s goal the standout!
It was certainly a jaw-dropper and the boss agreed, saying: “Naby Keita scored the most wonderful goal of all three.”
More of where that came from, Naby lad.3. The rotation had to happen
A total of six changes were made on Saturday following the exploits of mid-week and it was a must for Klopp during what is an incredibly taxing period.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was an unforeseen one, leading to an entirely new backline that saw behind a midfield trio who had previously started one game together.
“We had to do the changes, that was clear. After breakfast, Trent didn’t feel right. I actually planned to start him but Milly did an incredible job.
“The whole last line all of sudden never played together, on top of that, the midfield only played together once before.”
The rotated-Reds are alright!4. Fingers crossed for Thiago
The sight of Thiago hobbling down the tunnel was the sour point of the day, with the manager confirming he “felt his calf and we hope it is not too serious.”
It would be an untimely blow just one week after fellow midfield option Harvey Elliott sustained a long-term injury.
But there are no concerns for Trent and Joel Matip, with the right-back to recover from illness and the No. 32 simply rested after five successive starts.5. “A lot more to come from” Konate after debut
It was a solid debut from the young Frenchman, settling in alongside a much-changed defensive line.
Klopp was full of praise but was quick to point out that this is only the start for his young defender.
“We all saw what kind of potential the boy has, it’s incredible. Physicality, technique and game understanding is all there.
“But the Premier League teaches you harsh lessons and Palace was a good example. There’s a lot more to come.”
Liverpool are hopeful the injury Thiago Alcantara sustained during Saturday’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace is not serious.
The midfielder picked up a calf issue during the second half of the Anfield encounter and was forced from the field.
However, Jürgen Klopp told his post-match press conference the Reds are optimistic it’s only a minor injury.
“The only little bit that overshadowed [the game] was Thiago, but we hope it is not serious,” said the manager. “He felt his calf and now we hope really it is not that serious.”