It was just like Anfield. The title bid of 2014, the glorious seventies and eighties. Nostalgia was planned with Liverpool to commemorate the 100th birthday of former coach Bob Paisley.
As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s team came after to win a thrilling game – saying that Paisley’s team was never more dangerous in the pursuit of a match either – it might give you the impression that she had been choreographed.
In fact, Crystal Palace has revived the recent memories of the home team’s defensive waste. For an extended period, Palace threatened to undermine Klopp’s challenge when they did that of Brendan Rodgers on that infamous “Crystanbul” night five years ago.
Perhaps it is another sign of the difference in this Liverpool team that they have found a way to end the right side of the goal. Hard on the palace; further proof of the robustness of the Anfield title bid.
“I’m pretty sure many people believed today would be the day we lose him,” Klopp said, admitting that his overwhelming emotion at the time was relief.
“Nobody should be surprised about the character of the boys. They are ready to fight, that’s clear. “It was not the first time this season that we had to do it, but it was quite special and I really liked it.
“You always need luck in football, but the guys deserve those three points in a very difficult game.”
In a match where there were two goals and a red card in injury time, the scoreline barely scratched the surface of fears, abilities and courage evident in both teams.
Roy Hodgson has never been so good at Anfield, which is an achievement given that he once was the manager here. The respect he missed during the job might have been fixed when the home fans cheered his team off the field.
Hodgson can complain that he was a first-choice goalkeeper, who was replaced by a special victory over his former club, as the 39-year-old Julian Speroni was guilty of at least one of the two goals of Mohamed Salah.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino made the efforts of Andros Townsend, James Tomkins and Max Meyer play a supporting role in one of the most memorable games of the season.
None of the domestic visitors has so bothered Liverpool’s defense this season, and no player has denounced the home fans with envy like Wilfried Zaha. He is a seriously talented footballer and it can only be a consequence that denies him the world class of the label. If he made this his weekly standard, he would become familiar with the Champions League lineup.
It was more like Zaha was deadly waiting, hugging the left wing, and coming to life as red shirts rushed forward, leaving more and more space.
Especially for James Milner it was a rare, fierce afternoon as an emergency right-back in the absence of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Consistently left in one-on-one situations, he eventually made an attack too much and was dismissed in stoppage time for his second bookable foul on Palace Wingers. Milner had a thankless task.
Inevitably, Zaha was the architect of Palace’s opener at The Kop End. With a turn and a flank in danger, he decided after 34 minutes for Townsend.
“He plays well, he’s in good shape,” said Hodgson, who always masters the understatement. Liverpool found more energy after the break – no doubt fueled by her coach – and equalized within a minute of rebooting.
Goalkeeping was fortunate as Virgil Van Dijk’s 25-yard shot hit midfield player James McArthur and flew directly to Salah via the center-backs. However, the goal of the Egyptian should not be overlooked to notice the luck of assisting. It was an exquisite salvo with the outside of the boot.
It’s not as if Palace has not given a warning. Hodgson’s team proved that their last win in Manchester City was no coincidence.
Hodgson’s footballing wisdom – the love of being an outsider – was inappropriate for Anfield. But a well-organized defense and a quick counterattack are always a strong weapon when faced with top-class opponents.
It was this formula that enabled Sam Allardyce to win the last away win at Anfield for a visiting coach when he joined Palace in 2017.
As Firmino brought forward Liverpool in 53 minutes, another distraction that helped fool the increasingly vulnerable-looking Speroni, order picked up again.
Instead, it caused chaos, no side dominated the defense. Mamadou Sakho’s tendency to play rear wheels in his own box is an ongoing source of danger and fun.
Palace responded when Townsend’s corner selected Tomkins to equalize – without a header – and Speroni made a mistake in a goalkeeper who thought he had played his last Premier League game a year ago.
Milner received Fabinho’s crossfield ball and Speroni pushed the cross to his own line. Salah’s quick response from a farm twitched him, Speroni spied the embarrassment of his own goal.
The outstanding injury of Fabinho and the dismissal of Milner made the palace believe.
When Max Meyer scored the goal in 94 minutes, it had already come, but Mane had already achieved enough distance between the two teams with a skilful completion of the counterattack.
If they had played for another five minutes, there would have been a few more goals.
“I’m very proud. I thought it was a really good performance in every way, “said Hodgson. “They have a real talent that has been brought together for several years and cost a lot. We held each other, but they were luckier than us.
“A game like today – where they are expected to go to victory – is a reminder that in the Premier League there are only a few games to win.”
Liverpool – of all clubs that have been fighting for a first title for decades – needs no such indication of how mentally and physically each encounter will be.
So much felt like a repeat of Selhurst Park, 2014. Liverpool can be thankful that this time there was no Dwight Gayle in the palace rows.