UNITED KINGDOM, November 8 – Crystal Palace inflicted the first defeat of the Jurgen Klopp era with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Goals in either half from Yannick Bolasie (21) and Scott Dann (82) sealed Alan Pardew’s side all three points from this fixture for the second successive season, following their 3-1 triumph in the penultimate game of last season.
Philippe Coutinho’s 42nd-minute equaliser dragged Liverpool back into contention in an entertaining game on Merseyside, but the hosts were made to paid for their profligacy in front of goal, as well as a number of defensive errors.
The result sees Palace climb above Liverpool to eighth in the Premier League table while Liverpool, who see a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end, drop a place to 10th.
Palace travelled to Merseyside unbeaten in their last three league encounters with Liverpool and, with former Reds captain Steven Gerrard in attendance, they looked to continue from where they had left off on their last trip to Anfield making a blistering start in rain-soaked conditions.
Alan Pardew’s attacking formation looked to have the desire effect from the outset as Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha tormented a Liverpool rearguard which afforded their opponents the ball far too often in the final third.
And it was a series of defensive lapses that led to Palace’s opener midway through the half. Alberto Moreno’s feeble challenge allowed Bakary Sako to find Zaha on the right, before his cross was inexcusably cushioned into the path of Bolasie by Emre Can.
The Congo international was then allowed to take a touch before turning and rifling the ball beyond Simon Mignolet in front of the Kop.
Falling behind, however, kicked Liverpool into gear though, with Palace forced to retreat in defence and limited to hitting the hosts on the break.
Coutinho and Christian Benteke were quick to have efforts on goal as the hosts sought an instant response, but their attempts were either blocked or saved.
And then Benteke spurned a gilt-edged chance to restore parity on 32 minutes, striking Adam Lallana’s low cross against his own left instead of into the back of the net from close range.
The travelling Palace support thought their side had doubled their advantage six minutes later when Bakary Sako turned the ball beyond Mignolet, but the offside flag came to Liverpool’s rescue.
And the Reds soon took advantage of their reprieve as Lallana’s flick and Benteke’s dummy of Clyne’s cross set up Coutinho for the equaliser shortly before the interval.
The end-to-end nature of the first half continued into the second, with both sides exchanging blows in search of a second.
Shortly after the hour mark, Palace’s best chance of that second saw Sako’s near-post drive nestle in the side-netting before Benteke headed Lallana’s cross over the bar with the goal gaping.
Jason Puncheon’s long-range drive on 73 minutes drew Mignolet into a fine save before Liverpool had claims for a penalty waved away after Lallana’s goal-bound volley struck Dann in the area.
And, with eight minutes to play, Dann earned his side the victory, capitalising on a defensive mismatch to out-muscle Coutinho at a corner to head home the rebound from his initial effort on goal.