LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah scored his 29th Premier League goal six minutes from time to secure a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday to consolidate their position in the top four.
It was marred only by another injury to midfielder Adam Lallana, who was forced off only three minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Palace took an early lead with Luka Milivojevic’s seventh successful penalty this season after Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius had charged into goal-bound Wilfried Zaha and was booked.
Sadio Mane made up for missing some first-half chances by giving Liverpool a deserved equaliser early in the second half, tapping in James Milner’s low cross from the left.
Palace striker Christian Benteke was guilty of two bad misses in quick succession against his former club before Salah struck to leave the hosts mired in the relegation fight.
Liverpool remain third, two points behind Manchester United, but five points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who play one of their two games in hand at Chelsea on Sunday.
Palace remain two points above the relegation zone.
“Maximum credit to my players,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said after marking his 100th Premier League game with victory. “It’s very difficult after the international break because we are all used to a specific training intensity and then the players go away to different teams.”
Klopp felt Sadio Mane should have been given a penalty instead of a yellow card for simulation in the first half. But he agreed the Senegalese international could have received a second yellow after deliberate handball when he felt he had been fouled.
“It looked like a clear penalty. Yes he goes down late but there was contact there. For me it’s a penalty and no yellow card,” he said.
“The second one is a foul on Sadio and yes, he puts his hand on the ball, which is a second yellow, so we were lucky in that instance.”
Klopp said Lallana’s injury “looks like something with the muscle ... a big, big blow for us today”.
Palace’s Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager for just over six months in 2010-11, was left to rue another late home defeat after suffering the same fate against Manchester United earlier this month.
“It feels like a groundhog day when we play against the top teams,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing for them to get the winning goal so close to the end of the game.
“In the second-half we played well and controlled the ball and created better chances, but we also conceded both goals.”
Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris, Neville Dalton