Liverpool sealed their first win of the 2017-18 Premier League season on Saturday, as Sadio Mane scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
The first half was a dull affair in which neither side impressed, but the hosts improved after the break, and Sadio Mane found the net after 73 minutes.
Manager Jurgen Klopp surprised everyone with his starting XI, which saw plenty of changes and didn't have room for Mohamed Salah:
Liverpool FC @LFC
📋 The #LFC team to face @CPFC. https://t.co/LvBgO0vaN82017-8-19 12:57:00
The Eagles' team was more in line with what was expected:
Crystal Palace F.C. @CPFC
Here's the #CPFC 🦅 team to take on @LFC at Anfield this afternoon. #LIVCRY 🔴🔵 https://t.co/sgYPzM9fs42017-8-19 13:00:22
Liverpool's struggles with set pieces continued on Saturday, as James Tomkins headed the first chance of the match over the bar from a dangerous position. James Milner fired the Reds' first shot on goal into the waiting arms of Wayne Hennessey.
Joel Matip somehow missed an open header after a great cross from Andy Robertson, to the disbelief of Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo:
Kristian Walsh @Kristian_Walsh
How has Matip missed? Robertson will a delicious ball from the left, Hennessey misses, he heads wide of the open goal.2017-8-19 14:14:49
Ragnar Klavan needed treatment after a clash with Christian Benteke, and replays showed the Belgian may have gotten away with an accidental punch.
The first half was a slow affair, but chances started to fall toward the end. Mane should have done better from six yards out, while Roberto Firmino drew a fine save from Hennessey. Simon Mignolet was also called into action to deny Jason Puncheon.
At half-time, Walsh was far from impressed:
Kristian Walsh @Kristian_Walsh
Half time - #LFC 0-0 Crystal Palace. Eeeeesh. Some glimpses mainly from Robertson but not a great display.2017-8-19 14:46:32
The Reds kicked the second half off on the front foot, and Milner powered an early chance over the bar. The best chance of the match until that point fell on the other side of the pitch, however, with Christian Benteke somehow missing a sitter.
Betting company Paddy Power couldn't believe it:
Paddy Power @paddypower
Benteke with a miss of Sunday League proportions there.2017-8-19 15:12:31
Firmino fired a shot over before Klopp had seen enough, introducing Salah.
The Egyptian's introduction saw Firmino move into the centre and freed up space for Mane, who gave his team the lead after 73 minutes. After entering the fray in the 71st minute to replace Georginio Wijnaldum, Dominic Solanke forced the Eagles' defence into a mistake, and the former Southampton man took the gift and turned it home.
Bleacher Report's Matt Jones thought Palace would not be happy with the mistake:
Matt Jones @MattJFootball
That's a gift for Mane. Palace will be absolutely livid with that2017-8-19 15:31:01
Salah went close to doubling the lead shortly after, heading a ball straight at Hennessey. Palace pushed for an equaliser, with Scott Dann playing up front next to Benteke, but the better chances were for the Reds, who played out the contest and grabbed their first win of the season.