After hearing Manchester United had beaten Burnley earlier in the day, Liverpool knew they could ill-afford to take their foot off the gas against Crystal Palace just an hour or so later.
And when Philippe Coutinho rifled in a magnificent free-kick after 24 minutes, Reds fans will be forgiven for thinking it should have been plain sailing from then on.
But such has been the nature of their season, Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to capitalise on the bright start and found themselves pegged back before half-time, thanks to a familiar face.
Christian Benteke, who joined Palace from Liverpool last summer, pounced on some lax defending from the hosts to dispatch Yohan Cabaye’s cross in front of the Kop.
The big Belgian’s celebration was respectfully subdued for a player who never really settled into life at Merseyside and was given the elbow less than 12 months ago. The same cannot be said for Mamadou Sakho, though.
Sakho is still technically a Liverpool player after he moved to the Eagles on loan in January.
He had been frozen out of Klopp’s squad following a drugs ban and a falling out with the manager last summer but has put in a series of good performances at Selhurst Park since the switch.
And despite not being eligible to feature against his parent club, the Frenchman surprisingly still travelled with his temporary team to Anfield on Sunday.
Unlike Benteke, Sakho had every reason to keep his head down upon his return when Palace equalised.
However, as you can see in the video below, Sakho and Benteke celebrated the latter’s goal with a bizarre handshake and a game of rock, paper, scissors.
— LFC Globe (@LFCGlobe) April 23, 2017
Well that was a stretch too far in the eyes of many Liverpool fans, who slammed the centre-back for appearing to disrespect the club who own him.
Sakho a fool …. get rid if him! Make fat Sam pay through his nose!!!
— Mehsopuria (@Mehsopuria1) April 23, 2017
Anyone doubting Klopps authority to fuck Sakho off need to look no further than that celebration
— Stings like Ings (@ingswings) April 23, 2017
With that action it's set in stone that Sakho isn't ever putting on the red shirt. The guy is a bloody wanker.
— King and Lionheart (@Efezinodidi) April 23, 2017
Klopp said Sakho had discipline problems, easy to see now he's a complete fucking helmet. #LFC
— Phil Loves Bacon🇬🇧 (@PhilHannon) April 23, 2017
— Andrew Kirk (@Ack17Kirk) April 23, 2017
What a joker Sakho is, hope he never even steps foot in Liverpool again. Need to flog him to clubs for whatever it takes to get him away
— Ishan Welde (@IshanWeldeLFC) April 23, 2017
So if Sakho’s form at Palace had made some supporters question whether he should stay at Anfield in the summer, he’s just gone and ruined it.
To make the fans feel even worse, Benteke added his second of the evening after the interval with a header. There was no sign of Sakho this time around, though.