Liverpool ground out a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon – but were very lucky not to go down to ten men in the closing stages.
Jurgen Klopp’s side came from 1-0 down in the second half to overcome a dogged Crystal Palace side, and forward Sadio Mane was in the thick of the action throughout proceedings.
The Senegalese forward was booked in the first half for simulation, before making a more positive impact by equalising less than five minutes after the restart.
However, his afternoon afternoon arguably should have ended on the hour mark. Having felt that he was fouled by Andros Townsend on the edge of his own box, he grabbed the ball from the feet of the England winger and Yohan Cabaye just as they were about to bear down on the Liverpool goal, clearly in anticipation of being given a free out.
Referee Neil Swarbrick, though, saw it differently. He penalised Mane for deliberate handball but, somehow, didn’t deem it worthy of a second yellow card. Crystal Palace players were furious, but Mane remained on the pitch.
Mane was hauled off by Klopp minutes later but the home side’s afternoon got worse with just over five minutes of normal time remaining, as Mo Salah controlled Andy Robertson’s low cross into the area before slotting into the net and giving Liverpool a vital three points.