Jürgen Klopp will have taken far more satisfaction at this narrow victory than the far more emphatic dismissal of West Ham United on the opening weekend. Crystal Palace, awkward and organised opponents, were seen off in south London to maintain the Merseysiders’ pristine start to the campaign to leave their manager punching the air on the sidelines. In a season when they are expected to challenge, this was a statement of Liverpool’s intent.
Elements of their performance here were rusty, and their manager must have craved them moving the ball far quicker than they managed at times to pull stubborn rivals from their defensive base, but the visitors could take huge heart from the strength demonstrated across their back line while their hosts boasted a full complement. Virgil van Dijk, in particular, was a colossus against muscular forwards long before Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s dismissal made life rather more comfortable in the latter stages.