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?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?