Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace: 6 Things We Learned

Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2013

Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace: 6 Things We Learned

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    Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard scored the goals as Liverpool—at least temporarily—returned to the top of the Premier League by seeing off Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.

    The Reds, though, will be disappointed by their second-half performance and giving up another goal on a set piece.

Suarez and Sturridge Will Give Defenders Nightmares

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    The combination play between the two in the first half was about as good as you will ever see.

    One minute Suarez was dropping off; the next, it was Sturridge. The Palace centre-backs didn't know where to go. It was a clinic.

    "In the final third it was very good. Those two boys up front [Suárez and Sturridge] are as good as anything in the league," according to Brendan Rodgers, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian.

    Suarez's goal to open the scoring, showed a lot about him as a player, he slips in the box, but still manages to poke it home into the corner.

    Sturridge's goal was a superb individual effort, cutting onto his left foot and shooting across the keeper into the far bottom corner.

Jordan Henderson Took His Chance in Centre Midfield

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    Henderson certainly took the opportunity to shine in the middle alongside Steven Gerrard.

    When other players dropped their level in the second half, Henderson maintained his and was the driving force throughout.

    Jordan Henderson - 69/75 passes completed (92% accuracy), won 7 out of 7 tackles & recovered the ball 12 times.

    — MrBoywunder (@MrBoywunder) October 5, 2013

Kolo Toure Is Boss

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    Toure was, again, superb—winning aerial challenges and making light work of Palace's long balls forward.

    He's surely one of the first names on Brendan Rodgers' teamsheet after a brilliant start to his Liverpool career. 

    Great 3 points and another fantastic team effort.

    — Kolo Toure (@KoloKolotoure28) October 5, 2013

Raheem Sterling Is Struggling

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    I'd say Raheem Sterling struggled as a wing-back, but in all honesty, he has struggled whenever he's been given a chance for some time now.

    This was his first Premier League start of the season, and despite being a "wing-back," he had plenty of opportunity to impress in the attacking third.

    This is according to the average player positions, from WhoScored.com, which show that Sterling was the furthest forward of all players bar the front three.

    #LFC average positions vs #CPFC. pic.twitter.com/pprQeyfy4K

    — This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) October 5, 2013

    He failed to deliver from out wide, and the one shooting chance he got, he flashed wide at the near post.

Liverpool Are Jekyll and Hyde

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    This was another match where the cliche "a game of two halves" would be more than appropriate.

    Liverpool were scintillating in the first 45, but incredibly poor after half-time.

    The last-minute counter-attack goal at Sunderland last week remains their only Premier League goal in the second half of a match this season.

    It must be a concern for manager Brendan Rodgers; it certainly is for supporters.

    What on earth does Brendan Rodgers do to Liverpool at half-time?

    — Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) September 29, 2013

    Good question.

Liverpool Are in Champions League Qualifying Form

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    Liverpool now have 71 points from their last 38 League games—such form would have left them two points off a Champions League spot last season.

    In the last 25 games, they have 49 points—1.96 points per game. That form over a 38-game season would equal 74 points—enough for a Champions League finish in any of the last five Premier League seasons.