Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace: Final score 3-1, Reds cruise past Palace

Clive Brunskill

Liverpool returned to the top of the table thanks to an emphatic win against Crystal Palace. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge made a huge mark in the game, each scoring early to put the game well out of reach as the Reds eventually claimed a 3-1 win.

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Things got out of hand early on. Although Palace's midfield was having some joy against the pivot of Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson, their defence had no answer to the dynamic duo of Sturridge and Suarez. The latter was the first to strike, navigating a crowd of bodies and slotting past Julin Speroni despite a slip, and his strike partner struck shortly thereafter, worming his way past Damien Delaney and tucking away an angled shot.

2-0 down in the 17th minute, the visitors were never going to recover, but they did manage to give Liverpool a couple of scares. Kolo Toure cleared off the line from Jimmy Kebe, and Simon Mignolet was forced into an excellent reflex save when Cameron Jerome's effort took a huge deflection just in front of him.

But Liverpool looked likely to get more as soon as they bothered putting in the effort, and would manage a third before halftime. It came in somewhat dubious circumstances -- Raheem Sterling was felled by Dean Moxie, certainly, but it remains unclear whether the right wingback was actually inside the box at the time -- but the dodginess of the penalty didn't stop Gerrard from sweeping home from the spot.

Although Palace looked far better in the second half, by that point the game was long over. Liverpool were in first gear, and the fact that they conceded -- Dwight Gayle glanced a free kick past Mignolet in the 76th minute -- won't bother them too much. They could quite clearly have added more had they been inclined towards running up the score.

Liverpool starting lineup (3-4-3): Simon Mignolet; Mamadou Sakho (Daniel Agger 66'), Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure; Jose Enrique, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling; Luis Suarez, Victor Moses (Luis Alberto 66'), Daniel Sturridge.

Goals: Suarez 13', Sturridge 17', Gerrard 38' (p).

Crystal Palace starting lineup (4-3-3): Julian Speroni; Dean Moxey, Damien Delaney, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward; , Stuart O'Keefe, Mile Jedinak, Jason Puncheon; Jimmy Kebe (Jose Campana 45'), Marouane Chamakh (Yannick Bolasie 68'), Cameron Jerome (Dwight Gayle 45').

Goals: Gayle 76'.

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