Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3 match report: Brendan Rodgers' Premier League title dreams dented by Dwight Gayle's late leveller

Liverpool players distraught on the pitch after letting slip three-goal lead

Selhurst Park

It will at least go to the last day of the season on Sunday, but a glance back over their shoulder will tell Liverpool that Selhurst Park was where the dream died and it will be no consolation that their Premier League title ambitions hit the wall in such a brilliant game.

They might still win it - there is even an unlikely scenario where Chelsea could - but the reality is that Manchester City need only a win and a draw in their final two games to finish as champions, starting with the game against Aston Villa on Wednesday. Could Manuel Pellegrini’s team lose their nerve? Perhaps, but it felt like the season’s spectacular choke was this one, when Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead.

It was a ten minute spell in the closing stages of the game when Brendan Rodgers’ team conceded three goals as they attempted to chase down the nine goal advantage that City hold over them in the goal difference stakes. They could have sat on their lead at 3-0 and closed the game out. They should have done that as first Damien Delaney and then the substitute Dwight Gayle reduced the margin of their lead.


At the end of a long, hard season this was a game that took a while to heat up but it ended up as a classic between two of the division’s over-achievers. Palace may not overhaul Stoke City to get tenth place but the atmosphere of Selhurst Park was raucous and there was joy too at how comfortable their new manager has made the end to the season.

The home fans were here to celebrate, but they also wanted a performance from their team and they got one. Liverpool were made to work hard for their first goal and can count themselves rather fortunate that Mark Clattenburg did not spot the surreptitious foul that was key to it all.

That was Lucas Leiva’s tug at Joe Ledley as he ran to the back-post to track the run of Joe Allen at Steven Gerrard’s corner on 17 minutes. Allen was unmarked when the ball fell to him behind the pack of players in the centre of the six-yard box and he was able to guide his header between the bodies on the line.

Read more: Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3 match report
Nasri says 'I love' Crystal Palace
Glen Johnson slams 'clueless sofa experts'

It was the first goal from a set-piece that Palace have conceded in the Pulis era, and what an era it has been. Pulis will have been tutting at the carelessness that allowed Mamadou Sakho another free header minutes earlier, when the French defender directed his attempt on goal downwards with such force that the ball bounced over. Second time around, Lucas’ foul on Ledley happened so quickly that Clattenburg had precious little chance of detecting it.

Dwight Gayle, left, celebrates after completing Crystal Palace’s amazing comeback Dwight Gayle, left, celebrates after completing Crystal Palace’s amazing comeback (Getty) But Rodgers’ team did not have it all their own way and Simon Mignolet made a fine save from a shot from the Palace captain Mile Jedinak on 34 minutes. The sharpness and power of the Palace midfield caught Liverpool and Gerrard by surprise at times although, in the first half, it was always the away team that looked more dangerous.

If Suarez had been sharper there would have been more. He did not look his usual self, putting Allen under pressure and forcing him into a judicious foul on Marouane Chamakh that earned the midfielder a booking on 24 minutes.  Suarez was falling back later when he lifted a cut-back from Raheem Sterling on the right over the bar.

Read more: Huth calls for Suarez to be handed ban for crying
Rodgers concedes the title

There was one more opportunity, three minutes from the break when a lovely sweeping move orchestrated by Gerrard and Allen allowed Suarez to double back and shoot at Julian Speroni’s near post.

In fact it was just starting to look like Suarez’s temper was close to blowing when finally Liverpool scored twice in a couple of minutes, the second of which came from their No 7. Before then he had been booked for what might have been simulation when he ran into Scott Dann, or could have been dissent as he demanded action from Clattenburg.

Palace manager Tony Pulis, right, alongside Brendan Rodgers before the start of last night’s match at Selhurst Park Palace manager Tony Pulis, right, alongside Brendan Rodgers before the start of last night’s match at Selhurst Park (EPA) A few minutes later Suarez could not control his shot when Speroni brilliantly pushed a curling left-foot shot from Sturridge onto the post. The Argentine goalkeeper was excellent all night but he could do nothing about Liverpool’s second goal. First the long ball from Gerrard with enough slice and flight to take it straight to the feet of Sturridge. He ran across the face of the box and hit a left foot shot that flicked off Delaney and in.

Read more: Is the draw such a bad result for Liverpool?
Spur Twitter account hacked - then mocks Gerrard
Five things we learnt

Within two minutes Sterling and Suarez had exchanged passed in the Palace area and the latter had dispatched the ball past Speroni. Suarez became the second man in Premier League history to score 31 goals in a 38-game season. Finally Liverpool had some momentum and it was then they tried to chase down City’s goal difference advantage.

In the end it became so open, and Liverpool so stretched, that it was Palace who took advantage. First Rodgers’ team lost concentration after a substitution, when Philippe Coutinho came on for Sterling. The ball was worked left to the defender Delaney and his shot took a hefty deflection off Glen Johnson and past Mignolet.

Then a fantastic break from Yannick Bolasie who seemed not to be tired at all when he left Johnson as stationary as a training cone on his way down the Palace left. Bolasie was a blur of activity but was composed enough to cross for Gayle for the second. The third came when Glenn Murray, another substitute, directed the ball with his chest into the path of Gayle who slipped it past Mignolet. It was a crushing blow for Liverpool from which they will struggle to recover this season.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Dann, Mariappa; Puncheon (Gayle 64), Jedinak, Ledley, Dikgacoi (Ince 84), Bolasie; Chamakh (Murray 70).

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Allen, Gerrard, Lucas; Sterling (Coutinho 78), Sturridge (Moses 86), Suarez.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)

Man of the match: Jedinak

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform