The dynamic forward line of Liverpool reminds us of how much they have crossed over from Christian Benteke – and Roy Hodgson lets out with a mystery how long it takes to continue with the striker at Crystal Palace.
The patience of the manager will not run out after a night with fine margins like this against a title candidate; a game that escaped them as a controversial penalty, a correct dismissal and then a break-time-counter gave the home team a 2-0 defeat.
There were plenty of positive things to do, not least how Palace stoically defended in the first half and refused to give up in the second even after the otherwise excellent Aaron Wan-Bissaka received the red card that earned his challenge on Mohamed Salah .
Palace provided a sufficiently heavy test to persuade Jurgen Klopp to accentuate the battle-hardened character of his team, and to prove that they have the resilience to adapt Manchester City to fit this season.
Klopp greeted the impressive display of Virgil van Dijk, who worked on Benteke & # 39; without giving an error & # 39; and claimed that there were few centimeters around that were able to nullify the Belgian to such a conclusive effect.
Unfortunately, however, that is not the case. The record of £ 27 million Palace signed only three times since the beginning of last season – and only two times of open play – and that well-documented problem is not compensated by its overall contribution to the team.
Palace was stubborn and resilient without the ball, but was pushed deeper and deeper back when the first half went on. They needed Benteke to relieve the increasing pressure by offering a militant presence and an effective ball out.
The home team had their moments, no more exciting than when Andros Townsend hit the bar and Wilfried Zaha met the rebound with a fierce, deliberate salvo that Trent Alexander-Arnold set out.
But the punishment of James Milner came at the end of a period in which Liverpool gradually took control and the palace was attacked with less regularity. Salah's theatrical trap made most of the minimal contact out of the challenge of Mamadou Sakho and referee Michael Oliver was convinced, although many other spectators were not.
Only Jamie Vardy (seven) scored more goals against Liverpool than Benteke & # 39; s six since he made his Premier League debut in September 2012, but such statistics only serve as a reminder of what a fading echo of a once-feared player of the 27-year-old.
A few minutes before his replacement of the 70th minute Benteke worked an opening on his right foot, but fired hopelessly from the target from the edge of the box. Those tireless supporters at the end of the Holmesdale Road had seen it all before, although that did not prevent a warm applause for his efforts at his departure.
If Hodgson finds a way to revive Benteke, then Palace will suddenly have a useful asset, but they can not wait forever, especially for someone who earns £ 120,000 a week.
Benteke had no meaningful competition last season, but times have changed.
Alexander Sorloth left behind the nagging injury problems of last season and he replaced Benteke for the final action here, connecting the game to a certain movement in which Max Meyer almost met the dangerous cross of Zaha in a painful way . Former Midtjylland striker Sorloth has only made six appearances since signing for £ 9m in January, but he can expect this season to play more than a little.
Similarly, Jordan Ayew, loaned from Swansea in the last dying phase of the transfer window, has experience with this division and a point to prove.
This was Zaha's first outing since he signed a new deal last week on improved terms, and his future in Palace began in a way that Hodgson hopes he will become the permanent talisman of his team.
Zaha enjoyed the presence of Liverpool's acclaimed attacking threesome to oppose. In the first half he struggled manly to earn a free kick from Salah, while he walked away from the stage by pushing his folded arms forward along the elbows and pushing his chest forward, as if he had just begun.
What followed, however, was not his most effective rendering and underlined the need for others to share the offensive burden in the coming months.
But in defeating Fulham and pushing Liverpool, Palace has begun to encourage fashion, but it was a measure of Hodgson's anger at Oliver's appearance that he even posed a positive question about the start of his side until the season returned. to the fall of Salah.
"Our goal is to continue trying to improve, try to get better, try to ensure that we do not always look over the shoulder from the relegation zone upwards and I think I should be more than satisfied in the first two matches with what the team has shown, "he told Standard Sport.
"But it is of course far too early to say whether that will last the next 36 games, we will have to wait, we will have to prepare after this disappointment, because it is a very frustrating and bitter defeat when you lose like we do, where you have to forgive me for saying what I feel, and that is: I do not think we have given away a penalty and I do not think Liverpool deserved to take a 1-0 lead thanks to a penalty. "