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English Premiership

Fresh Palace misery for sorry Liverpool

LIVERPOOL-PALACELONDON, November 23- Liverpool’s Selhurst Park curse returned to haunt them on Sunday as late goals from Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak earned Crystal Palace a 3-1 victory in rain-soaked south London.

Liverpool missed out on the Premier League title after letting a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 on their last trip to the ground in May and Palace once again proved the scourge of Brendan Rodgers’s side with a stirring comeback.

Rickie Lambert scored his first Liverpool goal to put the visitors ahead inside two minutes, but Dwight Gayle — who scored twice in the 3-3 draw — equalised 15 minutes later.

With the visitors once again toiling in attack, Ledley and Jedinak scored twice in the last 12 minutes to condemn Liverpool to three consecutive league defeats for the first time since April 2012.

“We’re low on confidence at the moment in terms of the results and I think that sort of tempo and intensity of our game has just dropped right off,” said Rodgers, whose side have lost four consecutive games in all competitions.

“Obviously we concede poor goals, but we have no-one to blame but ourselves. As the manager, I take full responsibility for that.”

Rodgers’s team, who finished second to Manchester City last season, now sit in 12th place, a huge 18 points below leaders Chelsea, and face a crucial Champions League game away to Ludogorets Razgrad on Wednesday.

It was a first win in six matches for Neil Warnock’s Palace, who leapt out of the relegation zone and up to 15th.

“It’s massive. We needed that, big time,” Palace captain Jedinak told Sky Sports.

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“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. We didn’t help ourselves by conceding so early on, but I think the reaction from the boys after that was first-class.”

– Bolasie the inspiration –

A groin injury to Mario Balotelli saw Lambert handed only his second league start for Liverpool and he quickly made his presence felt on a sodden afternoon.

With 90 seconds on the clock, Adam Lallana hoisted a pass over the Palace defence to his former Southampton team-mate, who ghosted in behind Liverpool old boy Martin Kelly before beating Julian Speroni.

But just like last season, Palace refused to lie down, equalising in the 17th minute when Gayle followed up after Yannick Bolasie’s skidding low shot cannoned back into play off the left-hand upright.

It took a last-ditch block from Javier Manquillo to prevent Bolasie from putting Palace ahead shortly before half-time, but with Liverpool toothless in attack, it was the hosts who eventually prevailed.

Bolasie was once again the creator for their second goal in the 78th minute, brilliantly flicking the ball over Dejan Lovren wide on the Palace right and crossing for Ledley to slot a first-time shot between Simon Mignolet’s legs.

Liverpool’s misery was complete three minutes later when Jedinak arced a glorious 25-yard free-kick into the top-right corner to end his side’s five-game winless run in style.

Hull City host Tottenham Hotspur later on Sunday, with both teams eager to find form after indifferent recent results.

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Chelsea moved seven points clear at the summit by beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 on Saturday, although second-place Southampton can trim the gap back to four points by winning at Aston Villa on Monday.

Champions Manchester City remain eight points off the pace after coming from behind to beat Swansea City 2-1, while Manchester United returned to the top four by edging Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

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