Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: Christian Benteke's injury-time penalty seals win
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 07/03/16 8:05am
Christian Benteke won and scored a controversial injury-time penalty as 10-man Liverpool came from behind to claim a dramatic 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Joe Ledley scored his first goal in 33 appearances to give Alan Pardew's side the lead in the 48th minute and Palace's chances of ending an 11-game run without a win were strengthened when James Milner was sent off for two bookable offences just after the hour mark.
However, Liverpool were handed a lifeline after Alex McCarthy's clearance fell straight to Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian made no mistake, slotting the ball into the back of the net (72).
The comeback was complete deep into injury-time when substitute Benteke went down under a challenge from Damien Delaney despite minimal contact. Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, after consulting with his assistant, allowing the Belgium international to send McCarthy the wrong way with one of the last kicks of the game (90+6) and seal a dramatic win.
Victory sees Liverpool move up to seventh, six points off the Champions League places, while Palace's worrying form continues as their wait for a first league win of 2016 goes on.
Palace, who made four changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Sunderland in midweek, were dealt a blow when in-form striker Connor Wickham was ruled out through injury, but his replacement Emmanuel Adebayor looked lively in the early stages.
In the seventh minute, the former Tottenham striker broke into the Liverpool box before pulling the ball back for Yannick Bolasie, but Mignolet was quickly off his line to save at the feet of the winger.
Four minutes later, Palace had another glorious opportunity to take the lead as Adebayor rose highest to meet Pape Souare's cross, but his header came back off the crossbar.
Liverpool, who recalled Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho into the starting line-up, were enjoying plenty of possession but it was Palace looking the more likely to find an opening as Wilfried Zaha played in Yohan Cabaye, the France international taking on an early shot which curled into the side-netting.
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Jurgen Klopp's side responded as Divock Origi curled over from the edge of the box before Milner, who was booked for a rash challenge on Cabaye, had a free-kick deflected over the bar, but the half came to a close with the visitors failing to register a shot on target.
It was Palace who made the perfect start after the break with Ledley finding the bottom corner for his first goal since November 2014 after Firmino's sliced clearance.
And Liverpool's task was made even harder in the 62nd minute when Milner received his marching orders for a second yellow card after a foul on Zaha.
But they were gifted a way back into the game 10 minutes later when McCarthy slipped attempting a routine clearance from a pass back. The ball went straight to Firmino and the 24-year-old picked his spot to score his seventh league goal since the turn of the year.
Despite being down to 10 men, it was Liverpool who pressed forward for a winner and they went close through Moreno, but his powerful drive hit the post late on.
The dramatic breakthrough came in the last minute of the game as Benteke went to ground after an attempted challenge from Delaney.
Marriner did not award anything initially but after consulting with his assistant pointed to the spot, and Benteke calmly rolled the ball past McCarthy to secure Liverpool's win.
Crystal Palace: McCarthy (5), Ward (6), Dann (7), Delaney (7), Souare (6), Zaha (7), Jedinak (7), Cabaye (6), Ledley (7), Bolasie (7), Adebayor (7).
Subs used: Mutch (6), Sako (5), Gayle (5).
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Flanagan (6), Lovren (8), Sakho (7), Moreno (7), Henderson (7), Can (7), Milner (5), Lallana (7), Firmino (7), Origi (7).
Subs used: Coutinho (6), Benteke (7), Toure (N/A).
Man of the match: Dejan Lovren