Mohamed Salah netted his 200th goal for Liverpool and Harvey Elliott scored a stoppage-time winner as Liverpool came from behind to beat 10-man Crystal Palace 2-1 after a rip-roaring English Premier League clash on Saturday.
Salah became only the fifth player to reach that landmark for the club, joining Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson and Billy Liddell.
Liverpool have 37 points after a game that centred on the sending-off of Eagles forward Jordan Ayew for a second yellow card after an innocuous infringement in the 75th minute.
Referee Andrew Madley was in the thick of things throughout the game, doling out eight yellow cards to the home side and denying them a penalty in the first half after being called to the sideline in a VAR review.
Palace eventually took the lead from a penalty in the 57th minute after another lengthy video review found that Jean-Philippe Mateta had been fouled by Liverpool centre-back Jarell Quansah, and Mateta stroked the ball home from the spot.
Liverpool hadn’t managed a single shot on target and were struggling to create chances until Ayew, who was first booked for not retreating from a free kick on the hour mark, was booked again and dismissed in the 75th minute after a harmless-looking challenge.
Salah struck just over one minute later, netting his 150th Premier League goal to cancel out Mateta’s penalty with Liverpool’s first shot on target in the game.
Liverpool continued to pour forward and their persistence paid off when substitute Elliott rattled in the winner in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to the delight of the travelling fans.
“I told the boys that’s the first game I’ve seen somebody play as bad as we did for 76 minutes and still win,” Klopp told TNT Sports. “In this period of the year we have to get through, we need results. Nobody is in for the Oscar award for best football game ever, it’s about three points. We got them and we are more than happy.”
After this late show, at the end of a largely frustrating match in which they found clear-cut chances difficult to come by, Liverpool’s sole league defeat this season remains the controversial stoppage-time loss at Tottenham. They appear genuine title contenders.
Klopp’s side are demonstrating an ability to turn setbacks into victories.
They have scored a league-leading 14 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches this season, while the 18 points they have taken from losing positions are also unmatched.
Salah’s tally of 200 goals has arrived in 327 appearances for the club since joining from Roma for £34m in June 2017, also contributing 86 assists in that time, and he will undoubtedly be key to their ability to maintain a title push.
“I see the mentality to keep fighting until the end. We keep doing that,” said Salah on the similarities between the current side and Liverpool’s 2019-20 title winners.
“We have a new team now because there’s six or seven (new) players. We need to give them advice. They’re learning a lot and they’re really nice. We can do something special this season.”
Written with inputs from Reuters