ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Liverpool 1 Crystal Palace 0
LONDON • Liverpool ground out their first English Premier League victory of the season after winger Sadio Mane scored an opportunistic goal to give them a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield yesterday.
The pacy Mane took advantage of a double mistake by Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic and steered the ball past Wayne Hennessey in the 73rd minute, after the Wales goalkeeper had made a string of good saves.
Liverpool enjoyed the lion's share of the possession, but the visitors missed the best chance of the match shortly after the break as the Reds' former striker Christian Benteke blazed his shot over the bar from six metres.
Andy Robertson made his Liverpool debut and was an instant hit with the Anfield faithful when he put in a classy performance at left-back.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his players and gave special praise to Mane. "We had the ball a lot but we had to be more creative. They defended deep - we had more moments to score but didn't do so," he said.
"We will have games like this, one counter-attack could kill you but we concentrated really well.
"We had other chances, could have scored more often. But I'm completely happy with how the lads performed today.
"Sadio is there for the decisive moments. He is always ready for this. We played a lot without him last year and it was hard."
Liverpool have also underlined their determination to keep Philippe Coutinho by rejecting a deal worth up to £119 million (S$208.9 million) from Barcelona for the unsettled Brazilian forward.
The Spanish LaLiga club made a third bid on Friday, having been encouraged by the transfer request the 25-year-old e-mailed to Liverpool's sporting director, Michael Edwards, a week ago.
But, as was the case with Coutinho's transfer request, Barcelona's initial offer of £72 million and their second bid of £90 million, Liverpool responded to Friday's approach with another instant rejection.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN