Eagles soar to new heights against lacklustre Liverpool
Liverpool failed to put to bed the ghosts of last season at Selhurst Park, when they conceded a 3-0 lead to draw, a result which arguably contributed to losing the Premier League title.
However, it was this time the hosts who had to come from behind. When Adam Lallana set Rickie Lambert up to score his first Reds goal in the opening two minutes, it looked like it would be one-way traffic.
Palace, though, were resolute and picked themselves up quickly. Spurred on by the animated Neil Warnock from the technical area, the ball came to Yannick Bolasie, who sent a skidding drive goalwards from 25 yards out, which cannoned back off the post.
Dwight Gayle seems to have been reading the “striker’s handbook” and, following in the shot smartly, was on hand to bundle the ball into the back of the net to level.
Following that equaliser, the rest of the half was a typical arm wrestle, as the pendulum swung from left to right; both teams unable to carve out an advantage. Lambert had a few half chances, though couldn’t capitalise properly, as Palace tightened up their defence.
Flying Eagles wingers Bolasie and Jason Puncheon provided a constant thorn in the Reds’ resistance, and their energy pinned back Glen Johnson and Javi Manquillo, who looked lost at times.
The second half seemed much livelier. No doubt Warnock had encouraging words at half time, which seemed to work. Palace looked dangerous every time they came forward, buoyed on by home support and Gayle was always threatening on the counter-attack.
Liverpool centre back pairing Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel looked as though they had never played together before, with the former offering no challenge as Palace took the lead. It was the brilliant Bolasie skipping past the Croatian and squaring it to Joe Ledley, who dispatched from close range.
Three minutes later, it was game over. A superbly struck free-kick, courtesy of the equally impressive Jedinak, beat goalkeeper Simon Mignolet hands down, to make it 3-1 to the Eagles, who at this point were flying.
A very important three points for Neil Warnock’s side. Liverpool, meanwhile, are in trouble.