The addition of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson has given Jrgen Klopps side a more solid look than in previous seasons
On a testing night for Liverpool at a raucous Selhurst Park, fans of dramatic title races were pleased to witness further confirmation that Jrgen Klopps speedsters remain the best bet to keep pace with Manchester City. Even at this early stage none of the other pretenders look as ready as Liverpool to sprint alongside Pep Guardiolas champions now that steel accompanies their raw ability.
In its own defiant way, this slender, bitty, draining victory over Crystal Palace was even more impressive than last weeks humiliation of West Ham. Liverpool, who already know they cannot let City out of their sights for a single second, were rarely at their dizzying best and they had to be tough to withstand Palaces physical onslaught after James Milners penalty. There is a different feel to this team, a more robust vibe after years of flakiness, a sense that they are learning how to win ugly.
They have not had a leader like Virgil van Dijk in their defence for a long time. It was the Dutchmans clearing header in stoppage-time that allowed Mohamed Salah to set up Sadio Man for a killer second goal and it was also satisfying for Klopp to see Alisson Becker show why Liverpool were happy to spend 66.9m on a new goalkeeper. The Brazil international was a dominant presence in the second half, making a couple of fine saves and relieving pressure with his command of his area.
Based on this showing, Liverpools focus is not going to drop no matter the level of the opposition. They squandered points against Burnley, Everton, Newcastle, Swansea, Watford and West Brom last season and anyone who thinks there are no easy games in the Premier League saw confirmation when Manchester United lost to Brighton on Sunday. Uniteds defeat was a reminder for Klopps players that there can be no room for complacency.
They could certainly not afford to offer Palace any encouragement in front of their feisty supporters. The home team have a habit of making life awkward for the top sides at one of the divisions tightest grounds, where time on the ball is a privilege rather than a right, and Roy Hodgsons side followed Brightons example, working tirelessly to contain Liverpools formidable attack for much of the first half.