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Liverpool beat Palace in lively game

Joel Matip scores for Liverpool

Liverpool moved level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City courtesy of a thrilling victory at Crystal Palace.

Goals from Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino secured the Reds' fifth win in six league games and only goal difference now separates City, second-placed Arsenal and Liverpool in third.

Despite their brilliance in attack, Liverpool's defence remains a weakness, with Lovren twice allowing James McArthur to level before the break.

It was a wonderfully entertaining match, with the opening 45 minutes particularly pleasing on the eye as defensive mishaps and attacking verve resulted in five goals - the most in a first half in the Premier League this season.

Indeed, the first three goals in a breathless encounter came within a hectic spell of five minutes and 45 seconds.

Coutinho steals the show

Liverpool were mesmerising going forward with Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings once again with his wonderful passing.

The Brazilian, 24, could have scored with a header, when Steve Mandanda brilliantly dived low to save an effort deflected off Joel Ward's hand.

Had an official seen Ward's transgression, the visitors would likely have been awarded a penalty.

Coutinho contributed two assists - his corners were headed home by Lovren and Matip - and played a part in Liverpool's opener, finding Alberto Moreno, whose cut-back gave Can the easy task of sweeping home from close range.

Arguably Coutinho's finest pass did not result in a goal, a perfectly weighted ball which cut through Palace's defence and set Sadio Mane free, with the summer signing drawing a fine save from Mandanda.

For all of Coutinho's and Liverpool's attacking prowess, however, their defensive frailties meant victory was not certain until Firmino, put into space by captain Jordan Henderson, chipped over Mandanda.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 30Mandanda
  • 2Ward
  • 6Dann
  • 5Tomkins
  • 34Kelly
  • 7CabayeBooked at 62mins
  • 16Ledley