Crystal Palace centre-back Gary Cahill played through the pain barrier on Saturday afternoon but this wasn’t enough to prevent The Eagles from conceding seven goals against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Selhurst Park.
Despite his best efforts, the Eagles fell behind early on after Sadio Mane set up Takumi Minamino, who slotted home from close range to score his first Premier League goal. Mane doubled Liverpool’s advantage shortly before the break and Roberto Firmino scored finished off a lovely move to further rub salt in the wound just before half-time.
Jordan Henderson scored a screamer just after the restart before Firmino bagged his second of the game and Mo Salah added the extras.
Palace’s chances were few and far between, although Jordan Ayew forced a fine save from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, but the Eagles were unable to get a foothold on the game.
Speaking in the post-match conference, Roy Hodgson cut a sorry figure as he delivered his verdict on the shocking manner of the defeat. The Palace boss confirmed Cahill has suffered a reoccurrence of the hamstring injury that saw him miss the start of the season, saying:
“That was a bit frustrating because we did ask him on many occasions if his hamstring was ok, but he kept ensuring us it was ok and that he could carry on, but then in the last 10, he felt it even more and, of course, we had to sort of push him up front and labour on with 10 men.
“Again, one of those things I suppose that’s going to happen in a game of football sometimes. There’s so much more for me to ponder and concern myself with and be very, very sad about today than whether Gary should have come off or not.”
Should Cahill be sidelined for the foreseeable future, it’s highly likely Hodgson will be forced to call Scott Dann into action, which is precisely why Steve Parish must reward him with a new contract as his current deal will run out at the end of the season.
Having started seven out of his nine appearances in the Premier League so far this season, the Liverpudlian was left as an unused substitute on the bench as Jurgen Klopp’s side put the Eagles to the sword.
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve criticised Dann on occasions, as he was largely at fault for the abysmal display against Newcastle United.
However, given his status as one of the elder statesmen at Selhurst Park, it’s clear Hodgson has a lot of faith in the defender. His reliability at the back could prove useful in the absence of Cahill, who was run ragged by the Reds as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson caused havoc on the wings.
Valued at £2.5m by Transfermarkt, Dann has become an integral part of Hodgson’s side as they’ve cemented their place in the Premier League. Once lauded as a “terrific” true professional by his former manager Alan Pardew, in 16 appearances in the top flight last term, he averaged a staggering 4 clearances per game, via WhoScored.
With the 33-year-old recently linked with the Selhurst Park exit amid interest from Fulham, Parish would be wise to sanction an extension for the veteran, as there’s no doubt he will have a big part to play between now and the winter break.