Liverpool 3 Crystal Palace 1 match report: SAS prove themselves an elite strike force

Suarez and Sturridge blow Eagles away in dominant first half to continue formidable goalscoring record together

Anfield

The back page of the Liverpool Echo proclaimed “The Return of the King” – at the sight of Kenny Dalglish roaming the corridors of Anfield once more, this time as a director of the club.

It was, however, the return of the prince that captured the imagination of the old stadium yesterday. The last time Luis Suarez appeared at Anfield, it was against a London club, both he and Daniel Sturridge scored and Branislav Ivanovic had his arm bitten. This was much the same but without the teeth marks.

Suarez was announced like a boxer entering the ring for a title fight. They read his name out last, as they always do here, but this time it was: “Welcome back, Luuuisss Suarez.” He appeared on the pitch with his daughter, Delfina, and his 10-day-old boy, Benjamin, in his arms; something Carlos Tevez, another troubled, brilliant striker who played his football on the banks of the River Plate, used to do.

You might think this a rather fawning welcome for a man who had employed every available tactic to leave Liverpool in the summer and who in the deathless words of the chief executive, Ian Ayre, had “damaged the brand”.

However, this is to ignore the magic in his boots and the fact that he fills Liverpool’s No 7 slot almost as completely as Dalglish once did. The England manager Roy Hodgson, who had dashed over from watching Manchester City’s earlier game, sat alongside him in the directors’ box to watch Sturridge score and strike the post.

Liverpool stand top of the Premier League this morning and Dalglish’s second spell as manager has left little appetite for a third. In his first, in 1989, the Scot oversaw a 9-0 crushing of Crystal Palace, and just before the half-time whistle blew yesterday, it seemed that was a scoreline that might be emulated.

During the interval, Ian Holloway did not address his team on the pitch as Phil Brown once did with Hull City, but the Crystal Palace manager did send them out for a spot of extra training.

That determination not to be humiliated and some deeply lethargic and careless Liverpool play ensured that the goals did not pile up and Palace even scored when Dwight Gayle headed Jose Campana’s free-kick beyond Simon Mignolet. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was unusually downcast at the end and even kicked over some water bottles.

Nevertheless, the first half was a sometimes ridiculously one-sided affair. It began with the crash of smoke bombs and clouds of purple and black haze drifting over the away end, which resulted in at least one Palace fan being ejected. It might seem strange to travel the not inconsiderable distance between south London and Merseyside and then get yourself thrown out after a couple of minutes but perhaps he knew what was coming.

The opening goal showcased everything that is brilliant about Suarez. He was played in by Luis Enrique and then slipped. As he fell to the turf, with Damien Delaney attempting to block and Jason Puncheon almost on top of him, the Uruguayan somehow managed to propel the ball into the net. It was absolute box office.

Suarez  and Sturridge have already been touted as the most lethal Premier League partnership and certainly the former’s absence while banned had allowed Sturridge to blossom in a way he was seldom allowed at Chelsea. Liverpool’s second goalwas in its way even better than the first as Sturridge, on the left side of the Palace area, turned Delaney one way, then the other before arrowing a shot into the corner of Julian Speroni’s net. He was taken off a few minutes from the end but Sturridge will be fit for the games that will decide England’s World Cup qualification campaign.

Any prospect that Palace might salvage this match disappeared when Dean Moxey pulled back Raheem Sterling as he ran on to Suarez’s little looping chip. The linesman awarded the penalty, although Holloway questioned both whether it was a foul and whether it was inside the area. Steven Gerrard scored his 99th Premier League goal with the Kop singing his name.

There might have been a fourth before the interval as Suarez slithered through to find Victor Moses three yards out. Moses, the one striker Chelsea have let go who cannot find the net, proved it by striking the crossbar.

Line-ups:

Liverpool (3-4-3): Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Agger, 66); Sterling, Henderson, Gerrard, Luis Enrique; Moses (Alberto, 66), Suarez, Sturridge (Aspas, 88).

Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Speroni; Ward, Mariappa, Delaney, Moxey; O’Keefe, Jedinak, Puncheon; Kebe (Gayle, h-t), Jerome (Campana, h-t), Chamakh (Bolasie, 68).

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match: Suarez (Liverpool)

Match rating: 7/10

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on