It’s two out of Two for Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was “not interested in sending a statement” to his side’s title rivals after victory over Crystal Palace gave them a second successive Premier League win.

The Reds – who finished 25 points behind champions Manchester City in fourth last season – were worthy winners at Selhurst Park and join five other teams, including City, on six points after two games.

James Milner gave them the lead with a penalty after Mohamed Salah was brought down by Mamadou Sakho in the closing seconds of the first half.

Palace had young defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off with 15 minutes left after he brought down Salah when the Egyptian was through on goal.

And Sadio Mane wrapped up the points in injury time when he ran from his own half before rounding Wayne Hennessey to score.

The Eagles had chances, and Andros Townsend curled an effort on to the bar after a mistake by the otherwise impressive Naby Keita.

“It’s very early,” said Klopp, when asked whether the result confirmed Liverpool’s pre-season status as Manchester City’s closest title rivals. “I couldn’t care less really. We are not in a race with other Premier League teams each weekend.

“It is too strong to say anything after two match days. You can discuss whatever you want – just do it without us.”

Palace manager Roy Hodgson was furious with the penalty decision – but accepted Wan-Bissaka’s red card.

For the penalty, former Liverpool defender Sakho put his arms on Salah and then twice appeared to attempt to trip the forward, who went down.

“We probably did enough to get a result,” Hodgson told BBC Sport. “I don’t think it was a penalty. I’m angered that a good result was taken from us.”

The Premier League is the only one of Europe’s top five leagues not to use video assistant referees this season – but even if a VAR official or referee Michael Oliver had the option of watching it again, it may not have been overturned.

The same was true when Wan-Bissaka clipped Salah before he could reach the penalty area. The Egyptian had possibly lost control before the tackle came, and some fans were not convinced about the decision, but Sutton said the referee had “no choice”.

Hodgson agreed. “Wan-Bissaka catches him,” he said. “I don’t think he tried to pull him down but there was contact and he pulled him down. It was the right decision. He was the last man and did his best to rescue the situation. In another game he might have got a toe on the ball. I don’t blame him at all.”

 

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