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
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker