Liverpool completed the rescue operation with minimal fuss but enormous effort to secure the Champions League qualification for the fifth consecutive season.
Sadio Mané epitomizes recovery. He eventually led Jürgen Klopp's team to third place, ending the worst season of his career with Roy Hodgson's two career defeating goals with Crystal Palace.
As soon as the last whistle sounded, Klopp called the former Liverpool and England manager. After a warm hug, the Liverpool manager is back with a series of punch pumps highlighting what this rescue action means after a punitive campaign on a professional and personal level.
Facing the unintended complications of March's Europa League qualifiers from looking out, Liverpool secured their spot among the European elite with an undefeated ten-game run
Liverpool was supported by a welcome return. Fans of Anfield, who provided a powerful rendition of Never Walk Alone before 10,000 kick-offs, but initially all concerned were full of anxiety as the Palace opened dangerously. Visitors must have advanced long before Klopp's team got used to their rhythms and Mohamed Salah's expertly timed runs began expanding the Palace defense.
Alisson was forced into two significant rescues within the first six minutes. Commissioned as a solo striker, Wilfried Zaha was blocked by the Liverpool goalkeeper at the close post after defeating Nat Phillips to the sideline and opting to shoot rather than retract the ball for unmarked Andros Townsend. Stumbled upon by Georginio Wijnaldum, who was given an exciting welcome ahead of the anticipated Liverpool farewell, Townsend bowed the resulting free kick to the top corner only for Alisson to intervene again.
The palace winger then entered the game's turning point. Townsend broke through Liverpool's central defense by capturing a random cross-field crossing from Trent Alexander-Arnold and found himself one-on-one with the Brazilian national team. This time Alisson was defeated, but Townsend's low ride crossed the left-hand post. It was a wake-up call that Liverpool cared about.
The Palace developed in the first half of the host's composure on the ball, and Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcântara threatened repeatedly. Alexander-Arnold took a free kick from long range, and Salah's volley got ahead of Gary Cahill as pressure increased on Vicente Guaita's goal. He should have been beaten by the next corner, but Rhys Williams was left completely alone in the middle of the penalty area and was wastefully headed.
Salah was released from the back of Tyrick Mitchell with Fabinho's perfect ball, but the Palace keeper stood upright in his close post and denied Liverpool's leading scorer with his chest. When the palace could not cope with the Andy Robertson corner from the left, a breakthrough was inevitable and it took place duly. Williams wanted the ball more than Cheikhou Kouyaté, and before his gaze fell on Roberto Firmino, it fell on Roberto Firmino, with Joel Ward entering the game at close range as he desperately tried to intervene. It's a bad way to unleash the Champions League's riches, but Liverpool didn't care a single bit.
It perfectly fits the story of the mid-halves Liverpool season, when both Phillips and Williams needed treatment. for bloody head wounds before half. Phillips continued to play after being bandaged on the field, and Williams likewise made an emergency move through the tunnel for the stitches above his left eye.
Liverpool haven't made any central defensive changes to the bench featuring Jordan Henderson as Klopp tries to include his captain after three months of injury. The midfielder's suitability represented better news for England from his club before the Euro, Gareth Southgate, – men's roster on Tuesday.
There was a weariness to Liverpool's performance after the hiatus, which was their fourth game that day, but their refusal to give Palace any time they had was striking.
Visitors were offered the hope of an equalizer more than Liverpool's vague attempts to get out of the defensive than anything they had created, and that hope was over when Mané finished the disappointing season with his second goal in the afternoon.
Salah was sent by Firmino once again running to the right. Before finding Mané in the space to the left of the penalty area, he cut inside and exchanged passes with Wijnaldum. The Senegalese international low hit, his effort decisively deflected Cahill and the wrong-footed Guaita towards the bottom corner. Finally, and at the end of a long and troubled road, it was time for Klopp to celebrate a concrete prize.