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Match Reports

Report: Liverpool 1-3 Crystal Palace

16 May 2015

Goals from Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray ruined Steven Gerrard’s Anfield swansong as a brilliant Eagles performance saw them clinch their first league win at the ground for 24 years.

The script seemed to be set for Gerrard to bring the curtain down on his time on Merseyside with a victory and things were going to plan when Adam Lallana gave them a 26th minute lead, but Puncheon netted a superb free-kick for the second successive game just before half-time.

Then Alan Pardew’s side went in front after the restart with substitute Zaha’s first-touch, and in injury-time Murray clinched a famous win after he saw a penalty saved by Mignolet but tucked away the rebound to end a run of four straight defeats for his side.

After all the Gerrard sentiment had died down following his emotional entrance onto the playing surface surrounded by a guard of honour from both sides, the opening 26 minutes were very quiet indeed. An early chance for Emre Can failed to trouble Wayne Hennessey in the Eagles net and the visitors had looked lively when they got into the final third a couple of times before they fell a goal behind.

Palace were the victims of their own downfall when Martin Kelly played a loose pass towards Scott Dann and it was raced upon by Lallana, who evaded the desperate tackle of Palace’s Player of the Year to go one-on-one with Hennessey and he clipped the ball goalwards which took a slight deflection off the sliding Dann and flew into the top corner to hand the Reds the lead.

They nearly relinquished it minutes later when Yannick Bolasie brushed past Dejan Lovren on the right and centred the ball towards Marouane Chamakh, but it flicked off Martin Skrtel and fell perfectly into the path of the on-rushing Joe Ledley but he fired over.

More chances quickly fell the Eagles’ way with Puncheon at the heart of things. He took the ball 30 yards before finding Bolasie who again skied a first-time effort and minutes later Puncheon played a one-two with Chamakh before firing off an optimistic shot from the edge of the box, but it deflected off Skrtel and forced Mignolet to make an awkward save.

Another great opportunity then fell Chung-yong Lee’s way when a Puncheon corner was headed back into the danger zone by James McArthur but the South Korean couldn’t keep his side-footed volley down.

But the pressure finally told three minutes before the break. Bolasie won a free-kick when he was tripped by Can just outside the area and Puncheon celebrated his new deal at the club by whipping the ball into the far corner over the ducking Dann and Ledley, leaving Mignolet waving the ball goodbye as it flew past the statuesque keeper.

Unlike the first half the second didn’t take any time in warming up and Jordan Ibe hit the side-netting before Lee was denied a penalty for the Eagles, then Philippe Coutinho blazed the ball over the top from 20 yards out before Jordan Henderson saw a bobbling shot bounce harmlessly wide.

And the rip-roaring start to the half got even better for Alan Pardew’s side when just before the hour mark the impressive Eagles deservedly found themselves ahead. Bolasie played a one-two with Dann and sped down the right, got to the byline and centred the ball across the face of goal for Zaha who had only appeared as a substitute seconds before, and with his first touch he steered the ball home to score his fourth of the season.

Palace were all over Liverpool and on 65 minutes some more Bolasie magic nearly gave them a two goal cushion. Collecting a long ball he stopped it dead with a brilliant first touch to beat Alberto Moreno, then twisted Skrtel inside out in the box before curling the ball past Mignolet’s reach but saw it clatter off the crossbar.

All inside Anfield could sense Gerrard’s desperation to score and he fired a free-kick from 30 yards well over before shanking another chance harmlessly off target with 10 minutes remaining, but in injury-time Palace put the result beyond doubt.

Zaha tricked his way past Lucas Leiva and drew a foul from the Brazilian to win his side a penalty, and despite Mignolet saving Murray’s effort from 12 yards, he pounced on the rebound to celebrate in front of the away supporters and give them a day they’d never forget.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno (Sinclair 87), Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana (Lucas 65), Sterling, Coutinho, Ibe (Lambert 65). Subs not used: Ward, Johnson, Toure, Allen.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Kelly, Souare, McArthur, Ledley, Puncheon, Bolasie (Murray 82), Lee (Zaha 59), Chamakh (Mutch 76). Subs not used: Speroni, Delaney, Jedinak, Campbell.

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