Crystal Palace 1 Liverpool 2: Three talking points
Jonathan Spencer takes a look at three talking points to emerge from Liverpool's FA Cup fifth-round win over Crystal Palace
Mignolet’s a Keeper
After being under constant scrutiny this season, Mignolet had one of his better days between the posts. It seems like Brendan Rodgers’ decision to rest the goalkeeper has done Mignolet the world of good. Having time to reflect on past performances, he has come back with a positive mindset. He looks comfortable at the moment, and this was proved by confidently commanding his area. He came out to punch the ball on numerous occasions, from both corners and free kicks. Furthermore, he denied Dwight Gayle with a great save to make sure the score stayed at 1-0 to Crystal Palace at the end of the first half. Not only will Rodgers be happy with his recent performances but the Liverpool defence will be also pleased. Having a commanding goalkeeper gives them much more confidence. Even though Liverpool still need to sign a new ‘keeper in the summer transfer window, Mignolet deserves to still be at the club and be playing regularly. On his day, he can be a strong ‘keeper.
Alan Pardew may reflect on this match and think that Crystal Palace shouldn’t have set up the way they did. They played right into Liverpool’s hands. Palace allowed Liverpool to apply all the pressure throughout due to sitting off and giving their opposition way too much time on the ball. When the opposition have players such as Phillipe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, you do not want to give them as much space as Palace ended up giving them. In attack, Liverpool were very comfortable on the ball and found plenty of space in behind the Palace midfield. They were able to play the way they wanted to play. If they hassled the Liverpool players and forced them into making errors, then we could have seen a different result. As a consequence, Liverpool marched on to the quarter finals.
Can Liverpool lift the FA Cup?
Liverpool will fancy their chances of winning this year’s competition because many of the other big teams have already been knocked out. The only sides that are possibly stronger than Liverpool, are Arsenal and Manchester United, who both face potentially slippery ties. Arsenal take on Middlesbrough, who beat City at The Etihad in the last round and are also looking for promotion into the top flight this year, and Man United face Preston North End on Monday night. Preston are currently sitting fourth in League One and they will hope to make United’s visit to Deepdale one to forget. If Liverpool want to win the FA Cup, then it is vital that their key players, such as Daniel Sturidge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, remain fit and can go on a good run of form. Also, they must sure up their defence. If not, they could be knocked out, as there are still some good teams, with strong attacks, left in the hat.