Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool: Eagles Come Back from 3-0 Down to Shatter Liverpool’s Title Hopes
By Crippy Cooke
5 May 2014
Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle scored twice in the second half as the Eagles came from 3-0 down to level the game late on to shatter Liverpool’s chances of winning the league.
The visitors started the game at breakneck speed, with chances coming from everywhere in the early stages for Liverpool. Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling looked particularly threatening from the get-go.
Liverpool had a penalty shout after defender Glen Johnson went down in the area following a clumsy swing of the foot from Yannick Bolasie, but referee Mark Clattenburg was unmoved.
Johnson then came close to scoring after latching onto a diagonal aerial ball at the far-side. He lobbed a first-time header over the onrushing Speroni in goal, but it just cleared the bar too.
Daniel Sturridge then flashed a fierce long-range drive at goal that took a deflection to go wide of the post for Liverpool.
But the Reds made their pressure count and finally took the lead in the 18th minute.. An unmarked Joe Allen headed home from the resulting corner to put the title-hopefuls ahead early on.
With Liverpool missing a host of chances to double their lead in the first half, it was Palace who then came closest to scoring after Miles Jedinak hit a fierce strike that forced Simon Mignolet into a good save – tipping the 25-yard shot just over the bar.
Jason Puncheon then hit a low drive from outside the area, but the Belgian ‘keeper was again equal to it.
The Reds proceeded to finish the first-half strongly, but were still failing to get the decisive second goal.
After the break, Daniel Sturridge came within inches of scoring a beautifully curled effort for the visitors, but Speroni tipped his shot onto the post. Luis Suarez then skied the resulting rebound over the bar to keep the score at 1-0.
But Sturridge made no mistake in the 53rd minute. The former Chelsea man collected a cross-field ball from Steven Gerrard, and cut inside on his left-foot, before hitting a deflected effort that trickled into the back of the net.
Liverpool made it three just minutes later through a quick break. Luis Suarez played a one-two with Raheem Sterling, before firing home from close range.
Palace pulled a goal back in the 79th minute through Damien Delaney. The Eagles man hit a left-footed strike that deflected off Glen Johnson and into the top corner giving Mignolet no chance.
Substitute Coutinho nearly scored Liverpool’s fourth, but his side-footed effort from close range was tipped over the bar.
Palace then countered to great effect and made Liverpool pay for continued wastefulness in front of goal. Substitute Dwight Gayle scored following a brilliant counter attack led by Yannick Bolasie to make it 3-2 with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.
It was all rearguard action for the Reds as Bolasie was running rings around the Liverpool defence with Pulis’ side sensing an equaliser.
And Liverpool eventually caved in with just minutes of normal time remaining. Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle scored his second goal of the game to break Liverpool hearts with an equaliser.
Palace came close to scoring a fourth, but Gayle flashed his shot wide of the post.
Liverpool will be wondering how they didn’t score after Speroni came out of goal but found himself in no man’s land, but the Reds could get a shot away in the gaping goal.
The result puts Liverpool top of the Premier League after 37 games, but Manchester City are just one point behind with a game in hand and are now in pole position to win the league crown.