Premier League Review – Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
- Date – 6th March 2016
- Venue – Selhurst Park
- Attendance – 24,709
- Referee – Andre Marriner
- Bookings – Dann, Henderson, Milner
- Sent off – Milner
- Goals – Ledley (48), Firmino (72), Benteke (90)
- Star Eagle – Mile Jedinak (7.6)
Injuries to Wayne Hennesey and Connor Wickham forced the hand of manager Alan Pardew who opted to replace them with Alex McCarthy and Emmanuel Adebayor while Pape Souare returned at the expense of Martin Kelly.
This was always going to be a tough contest against a high energy team in good form but the Eagles put in a very good performance for sixty minutes of the game, but clearly forgetting the other half hour.
A struggling Palace side took the game to the visitors from the off and enjoyed decent chances to take the lead through Yannick Bolasie, Yohan Cabaye, Damien Delaney with the best from Adebayor which came back off the crossbar after an excellent cross from Souare. While Liverpool had a lot of possession, they only managed one real chance through Origi that went over the bar.
The game will be remembered for a few second half incidents but not before Palace took a deserved lead. Good early pressure from the hosts resulted in a scramble inside the box. The ball fell to Joe Ledley just outside the area who hit a sweet effort into the bottom corner of the goal.
Palace were put firmly in the driving seat as James Milner received a second yellow card for bringing down Wilfried Zaha in the middle of the pitch, heaping more pressure on the impressive Emre Can and his teammates. The sending off seemed to effect the Eagles more than Liverpool and it was even more evident when Jurgen Klopp’s men were gifted an equaliser. What looked a simple clearance by McCarthy turned into a calamity as he slipped to hand Brazilian Roberto Firmino with what is likely to be his easiest goal for the club.
The effect was visible as Palace struggled from there on in and even the changes made by Pardew could not make an impact on the rest of the game.
Once player who did manage to stamp his mark on the game was a substitute for Liverpool, Christian Benteke. Running to the touchline in the dying seconds of the game, he decided to hit the deck after very minimal contact by a grounded Delaney. Referee Andre Marriner decided to award a goal kick but the linesman had other ideas.
Benteke stepped up and scored the winner, an extremely bitter pill to swallow for the home fans. The site of Zaha falling to his knees in disappointment summed it up. Palace had thrown it away from a winning position and it is yet another body blow in a season that is now showing real cause for concern.
A good first half was followed up with a second forty-five that saw the team have the wind knocked out of their sails after the clamitous equaliser. There were positives but the bad run continues as does the goalkeeping curse. Distraction of the FA Cup may not have come at a very good time.
Player Ratings (courtesy of Who Scored)
- Alex McCarthy (5.3) – Recalled to the starting line up but a game that he will want to forget. Made a good save late in the second half but will only be remembered for the slip.
- Joel Ward (6.8) – Solid in his return to the right back berth.
- Scott Dann (6.2) – Dealt with the early booking well and received a head injury for his worries but still put in a decent performance.
- Damien Delaney (5.8) – Guilty of going to ground in the area even though the penalty award was harsh. Had a good chance in the first half with a header.
- Pape Souare (7.2) – After three games out through suspension, the Senegalese full back played well in his return to the side working the left flank well.
- Mile Jedinak(7.6) – Often there to put a good foot in the middle of the park even though he sometimes looks to be a little off the pace.
- Yohan Cabaye (7.1) – Good showing from the Frenchman in what was a tough midfield battle. Replaced by Jordon Mutch (6.0) on 70 minutes to add some fresh legs to the midfield.
- Joe Ledley (7.2) – Great striker from the bearded genius to give Palace the lead. Worked hard in the middle throughout. Replaced by Bakary Sako (6.0) on 82 minutes who could not make an impact in his short time on the pitch.
- Wilfried Zaha (6.8) – Frustrating at times but he worked hard both going forward and defensively. Good to see him putting in some tackles to help the back line.
- Yannick Bolasie (6.6) – With more minutes under his belt his rehabilitation is almost complete. Showed glimpses of what we have been missing, linked up well with Adebayor and Zaha.
- Emmanuel Adebayor (7.0) – Excellent first half but faded as the game went on. Great chance with a header that came back of the bar. Replaced by Dwight Gayle (5.8) on 82 minutes who was not able to get anything going.
Unused substitutes – Julian Speroni, Martin Kelly, Chung-yong Lee, Marouane Chamakh
The Who Scored man of the match was Emre Can (8.2) while Roberto Firmino (5) had the most shots. Five players made the most tackles (5 – Henderson, Jedinak, Lovren and Moreno). Emre Can (5) made the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.53 – 6.95
- Total shots: 14 – 19
- Shots on target:
- Possession: 44.3% – 55.7%
- Pass success: 67% – 55.7%
- Dribbles: 10 – 10
- Aerials won: 15 – 22
- Tackles: 15 – 24
- Corners: 6 – 6
- Dispossessed: 11 – 11
Premier League Table