Liverpool stunned as Crystal Palace strike late on
Jurgen Klopp’s team dominated for long periods but couldn’t shake their bogey team
Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann celebrates scoring their second goal as Liverpool players look on dejected. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Liverpool 1 Crystal Palace 2
“You must be sick of us,” sang the Crystal Palace fans, and Liverpool could only agree. Alan Pardew’s side inflicted a first defeat on Jürgen Klopp’s reign with their third consecutive Premier League victory over Liverpool.
One month into the job and the Liverpool manager knows Palace’s reputation as a bogey team is well deserved.
Yannick Bolasie and a late Scott Dann header gave Palace their latest triumph over a Liverpool side that once again struggled with Pardew’s tactics and adventure. Steven Gerrard was in the crowd for the first time since departing for LA Galaxy and must have had flashbacks to his last appearance at Anfield.
Palace began in the same dominant fashion that ruined Gerrard’s Liverpool farewell in May, with Pardew’s deployment of Bolasie alongside Bakary Sako in attack causing the home defence immediate problems. Bolasie, outstanding in Palace’s 3-1 win here last season, once again unnerved Liverpool with his pace and touch. Only after the Congo international had given the visitors a deserved lead did Klopp’s team find the urgency, accuracy and energy demanded. They could not sustain it.
Palace punished several defensive lapses from Liverpool to open the scoring through Bolasie’s second goal of the season. Sako rode a weak challenge from Alberto Moreno to release Wilfried Zaha down the right. Emre Can made a hash of clearing Zaha’s low cross, Bolasie reacted quicker to the loose ball than Lucas Leiva, captain for the day in the absence of the injured Jordan Henderson and James Milner, and beat Simon Mignolet with an unstoppable finish from 10 yards.
Liverpool looked like a team that had made a 5,000-mile round trip to Kazan in midweek but the breakthrough woke them from their lethargy. Jordon Ibe and Nathaniel Clyne began to dominate the right wing, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana found space behind Palace’s midfield shield and the visitors were no longer able to break in numbers.
Christian Benteke forced Wayne Hennessey into his first save of the game with a textbook header from Ibe’s corner and wasted a good chance from Lallana’s inviting pass. The equaliser arrived from an excellent team move that sent Klopp high-fiving into the supporters behind his dug-out. Ibe released Clyne on the right of the penalty area, Lallana flicked the full-back’s cross towards the far post and, just as he did at Stamford Bridge last weekend, Coutinho brought Liverpool level with an emphatic shot beyond Hennessey.
Liverpool were fortunate not to be two goals in arrears at that point.
Mamadou Sakho insisted on playing on despite injuring his knee when tumbling over Sako. The decision almost proved costly as the struggling defender lost possession and Sako scored from the edge of the area only for an offside flag to spare the home side. Sakho hobbled off seconds later and his replacement, Dejan Lovren, went close to heading home corners from Coutinho and Moreno before the interval.
An open game continued to flow and both sides had cause to regret their finishing in the second half. Benteke, who struggled throughout, shot over from Coutinho’s through ball, headed over from Moreno’s cross and over-elaborated inside the area when put clear by the Brazilian. Sako wasted a better opening for Palace, hitting the side netting from six yards after Bolasie’s break and cross from the right had left the striker with only Mignolet to beat.
Klopp replaced the poor Can with Roberto Firmino and switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation but the changes prompted an improvement only from Palace, who retook the lead with eight minutes remaining. The Liverpool fan Dann towered over Firmino to head Yohan Cabaye’s corner goalwards, Mignolet parried the effort but straight back to the defender who steered his second header into the top corner.