Sadio Mane poked home the only goal of the game as Liverpool banked a first win of the Premier League season against a spirited Crystal Palace at Anfield.

Palace threatened to follow in Watford’s lead by keeping Jurgen Klopp’s side to a point but Mane showed a predator’s instinct to pick up on an error from Luka Milivojevic and grab the winner after 73 minutes.

His second of the season made it two defeats in a row for new Palace boss Frank de Boer and managed to lessen some of the focus on the absent Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool v Crystal Palace

What they said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “Defending was outstandingly good today. Klavan and Matip did really well and the protection from Robbo and and Joe was really good. The football played in the first half could have been better but I was really happy we scored and created chances in the second half. Offensive football is always making the right decision at the right moment. We didn’t see the spaces often enough in the first half.”Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer: “I think they (Liverpool) were at times frustrated that they could not play around us, between us, and that is a very good compliment for the team. But you have to reward yourself for that and at the end it’s all about the points and we still have empty hands right now. I have full confidence we will get our points very soon.”

Tweet of the match

Star man – Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Daniel SturridgeCrystal Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek (left) put in an energetic display at Anfield (Martin Rickett/PA)

While Liverpool’s players were burnished by the glow of victory many were short of their best and even match-winner Mane struggled at times. Loftus-Cheek ended up on the losing side but can be proud of his own efforts in a tough away day. He tackled well, covered plenty of ground and one fleet-footed run and cutback would have handed his side the lead had Christian Benteke kept his shot down. Chelsea may not have found room for him but the watching England manager Gareth Southgate may have other ideas.

In the stands

Liverpool fansLiverpool fans were taunted by their Crystal Palace counterparts about the absence of Philippe Coutinho ( Martin Rickett/PA)

The away contingent wasted little time dealing with the elephant in the room, roaring “where’s your Coutinho?” early and often and suggesting in slightly coarser language that Liverpool could not match his ambition. There was also a credibility-stretching “he’s one of our own” chant aimed at the Reds’ out-of-favour defender Mamadou Sakho, a Parisian with eight loan appearances for the Eagles to his name.

Stat of the day

Joe GomezJoe Gomez in action against Palace (Martin Rickett/PA)

707: Days since defender Joe Gomez last appeared in Liverpool’s Premier League starting XI, a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United. His last start in any competition was on January 28, when the Reds were beaten in the FA Cup fourth round by Wolves.


Sadio ManeSadio Mane scored Liverpool’s winner (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool: Simon Mignolet: 6 (out of 10), Joe Gomez 7, Joel Matip 6, Ragnar Klavan 7, Andy Robertson 7, James Milner 7, Jordan Henderson 6, Georginio Wijnaldum 6, Sadio Mane 7, Roberto Firmino 6, Daniel Sturridge 5. Substitutes: Mo Salah (for Sturridge) 7, Dominic Solanke (for Wijnaldum) 7, Dejan Lovren (for Firmino) 5.Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey 7, Timothy Fosu-Mensah 6, Scott Dann 7, James Tomkins 6, Joel Ward 6, Patrick van Aanholt 6, Luka Milivojevic 6, Jason Puncheon 6, Ruben Loftus-Cheek 7, Andros Townsend 7, Christian Benteke 5. Substitutes: James McArthur (for Puncheon) 6, Sullay Kaikai (for Milivojevic) 5, Jeffrey Schlupp (for Van Aanholt) 5.

Who’s up next?

Liverpool v Hoffenheim (Champions League play-off, Aug 23)

Crystal Palace v Ipswich (EFL Cup, Aug 22)