Liverpool completed the bailout with minimal fuss but a tremendous effort to secure their Champions League qualification for the fifth consecutive season.
Sadio Mané epitomizes recovery. He ultimately led Jürgen Klopp's team to third place, ending the worst season of his career with two career-defeating goals from Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace.
Klopp called his former Liverpool and England manager as soon as the final whistle blew. After a warm hug, the Liverpool manager returned with a series of fist pumps highlighting what this bailout meant after a punishing 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 backed by a welcome return. Fans of Anfield present a powerful rendition of Never Walk Alone before 10,000 kick-offs, but initially all concerned were filled with apprehension as the Palace opened dangerously. The visitors must have advanced long before Klopp's crew got used to their rhythm and Mohamed Salah's expertly timed runs began expanding the Palace defenses.
Alisson was forced into two key saves in the first six minutes. Commissioned as a lone striker, Wilfried Zaha was blocked by the Liverpool goalkeeper at the close post after he beat Nat Phillips to the sideline and opted for a shot instead of pulling the ball back for the unmarked Andros Townsend. Stumbled upon by Georginio Wijnaldum, who was given an exciting welcome ahead of his anticipated Liverpool farewell, Townsend ducked the resulting free kick into the top corner only for Alisson to intervene again.
The palace winger later became involved in the game's turning point. Townsend smashed through Liverpool's central defense by catching a random cross-field pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold and found himself one-on-one with the Brazil national team. This time Alisson was defeated, but Townsend's low drive passed his left-hand post. It was a wake-up call that Liverpool cared about.
Palace threatened several times in the first half as the hosts' composure on the ball improved, and Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcântara. Alexander-Arnold took a long-range free kick and Salah's volley went ahead of Gary Cahill as the pressure increased on Vicente Guaita's goal. He should have been beaten by the next corner, but Rhys Williams was completely alone in the middle of the penalty area and lavishly smashed his head.
Salah was released from behind Tyrick Mitchell with Fabinho's perfect ball, but the Palace guard stood upright in his close post and denied Liverpool's leading striker with his chest. A breakthrough was inevitable and duly carried out when Palace couldn't deal with the Andy Robertson corner from the left. Williams wanted the ball more than Cheikhou Kouyaté and his gaze fell on Roberto Firmino before falling on Roberto Firmino, as Joel Ward tried desperately to intercept as he stepped into the game at close range. It's a bad way to unleash the riches of the Champions League, but Liverpool didn't care one iota.
It fit perfectly into the story of the mid-half Liverpool season, where both Phillips and Williams needed treatment. for bloody head wounds before halfway. Phillips continued to play after being bandaged on the field, and Williams likewise made an emergency lunge 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 on the day, but their refusal to give Palace any time they had was striking.
Visitors were offered hope for an equalizer more than Liverpool's vague attempts to come off the defence, rather than anything of their own making, and that hope was shattered when Mané finished the disappointing season with his second goal in the afternoon.
Salah was sent by Firmino, once again running to the right. He cut in and exchanged passes with Wijnaldum before finding Mané in space to the left of the penalty area. The Senegalese international hit low, his effort decisively deflecting Cahill and the wrong-footed Guaita into the bottom corner. Finally, and at the end of a long and troubled road, it was time for Klopp to celebrate a tangible award.