Liverpool conceded seven in a nightmare trip to Villa Park in October 2020, but put things right with an incredible performance at Crystal Palace just before Christmas.
Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool
Premier League, Selhurst Park
December 19, 2020
Goals: Minamino 3′, Mane 35′, Firmino 44′, Henderson 52′, Firmino 68′, Salah 81′, Salah 84′
The Reds’ Premier League visit to Selhurst Park during the 2020/21 season was a match to remember, in a campaign that would go on to be quite the opposite.
Unfortunately, the travelling Kop weren’t there to witness it, with the game played behind closed doors due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Liverpool were reigning champions, having ended their 20-year wait for a league title in the previous season.
It’s easy to forget that this victory saw the Reds go five points clear in first place, meaning they were top at Christmas, with Man City eight points behind in sixth, and in pole position to retain their crown.
The events that would unfold after the turn of the year were incredibly unfortunate, but should take nothing away from this, one of the best Liverpool performances in the Jurgen Klopp era, and their biggest Premier League victory to date.
At the time, Liverpool were in the thick of the defensive injury crisis that would go on to derail their entire season, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both sustaining serious injuries in the months prior.
Mohamed Salah‘s omission from the starting lineup was the real surprise when the teams were announced, with Klopp handing the Egyptian a rest ahead of the usual hectic festive schedule.
It was an accomplished finish from the forward, who did well to work the opening after receiving the ball from Sadio Mane inside the box. The celebration told you everything about how much his first league goal for the Reds meant to him.
Palace failed to capitalise on a host of chances to equalise and would soon be punished by Mane, who fired home a brilliantly instinctive finish for his customary goal against the Eagles.
When Roberto Firmino started and finished the terrific move that lead to Liverpool’s third just before half-time, it was virtually game over.
After the break, Jordan Henderson made it four with a delicious finish from the edge of the box, and five minutes later, Klopp rubbed salt into Palace’s wounds with the introduction of Salah just before the hour mark.
Liverpool’s talisman would come on in place of Mane, who was less than impressed with Klopp’s decision and clearly sensed that more goals were imminent.
He would be right. In the 68th minute, Salah set up Firmino for his second. The Brazilian had plenty to do when he collected the pass inside the box, but his touch, burst of pace and chipped finish from a tight angle was pure quality.
The reaction to Firmino’s finish from Klopp and Curtis Jones on the sidelines was priceless!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 19, 2020
Bobby’s work was done, and in the 75th minute he was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose return from a long-term knee injury that had kept him out since July was another positive.
The Reds weren’t done there. Salah was soon in the goals himself, of course. He made it six with an instinctive header from close range, but it was his second and Liverpool’s seventh goal that really was one to remember.
A STUNNER from Salah to make it 7! ?
What a way to round off a memorable afternoon ? pic.twitter.com/3ZDFn8zGrj
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 22, 2020
It was Oxlade-Chamberlain who played the ball out to Salah on the right-hand side, before he unleashed a perfect curling effort past Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and into the top corner. Trademark Mo.
His brace meant he had scored in five consecutive matches and was up to 16 Premier League goals before Christmas.
A day the Reds sent the records tumbling
The victory saw Liverpool register their biggest-ever Premier League victory to date, but that was just one of an impressive collection of records set on the day.
With five different goalscorers and seven different assist-makers, this was the first time in Premier League history that seven different players had assisted a goal for a team in a match.
It was also Liverpool’s record away top-flight win and the first time they had scored seven in a league away game since beating Derby County 7-1 back in 1991.
Palace set some records of their own, but not ones they’ll remember fondly. It was the first time they had ever conceded seven goals in a home match and their worst-ever home defeat. Ouch.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Clyne, Kouyate (Tomkins 63′), Cahill, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McCarthur (Riedewald 75′), Schlupp, Eze, (Batshuayi 69′); Zaha, Ayew
Subs not used: Butland, Ward, Dann, Townsend, McCarthy, Mitchell
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, R. Williams, Phillips, N. Williams, Origi