London, Aug 21 (IANS) Liverpool had to work hard here to defeat scrappy Crystal Palace 2-0 in the finale of the second round of the 2018-2019 Premier League.
Reds coach Jurgen Klopp stuck with the same lineup that pounded West Ham United 4-0 at Anfield in the first match. Counterpart Roy Hodgson likewise decided against any changes to the starting 11 who bested Fulham 2-0 last week, reports Efe news.
Neither side was particularly impressive in the first half at south London’s Selhurst Park and it was the hosts who created the best chance, a strike by Andros Townsend that bounced off the cross-bar to the relief of Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson on Monday.
But the visitors took a 1-0 lead into the break courtesy of a penalty in the dying seconds after Mamadou Sakho brought down Mo Salah in the box.
The referee pointed to the spot, ignoring protests from Palace and the home supporters, and James Milner coolly converted to make it 1-0 for Liverpool.
The Eagles improved in the second half and Alisson had to make stops against Luka Milivojevic – on a free kick – and Wilfried Zaha to preserve the narrow lead.
With 15 minutes left, Palace went down to 10 men, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was shown a straight red card for a foul on Salah.
Palace won a corner in stoppage time, but Liverpool launched a counter and Mane took a deep ball for Salah to score on the breakaway and ensure that the Reds would be leaving with all three points.