Monday, 7 March 2016

Benteke pen completes 10-man Reds comeback

Sports – Football – Premier League – Crystal Palace 1:2 Liverpool

Substitute Christian Benteke was the unlikely hero, scoring a last-minute penalty, handing ten-man Liverpool a dramatic 2-1 win at Selhurst Park.

Benteke scores

Crystal Palace had lead through Joe Ledley’s finish a couple of minutes after the interval, netting the ball following a bit of ping pong in the box off a corner.

Jürgen Klopp’s men saw the frustrating afternoon go from bad to worse when James Milner was sent off for a second yellow card just after the hour-mark.

However, this setback seemed to spurn on the Reds more than before, making them more possessive and productive with the ball.

But it took a slipup by Palace keeper Alex McCarthy to get the visitor back into the match, handing the ball to Roberto Firmino, who couldn’t miss, to make it 1-1 in the 72nd minute.

Liverpool took over from then on, covering and creating more, Benteke brought on with ten minutes to go and a point to prove.

In the last seconds of stoppage time, Damien Delaney made contact with Benteke’s ankle, bringing down the striker in the box, referee Andre Marriner awarding the penalty guided by his assistant.

Benteke stepped up to put an end to his 715 goalless minutes in all competitions and made no mistake of converting the winner.

It was a very different victory compared to the Reds’ impressive 3-0 win over Manchester City midweek, showing more evidence of Liverpool’s inconsistency and/or a good case of Klopp’s renowned resistance/comeback philosophy/mentality (aka “Gegenpressing”).

Liverpool ran further as a team than Palace over 90 minutes (113km-111km respectively), man of the match Adam Lalllana covering most of that and passing 92% accurate, good to watch.

Palace have now gone 12 Premier League matches without a win (D4, L8), the current longest winless run in the top flight, frustrating and disappointing for Alan Pardew and his men, especially after a better first half and taking the lead against Liverpool.

Klopp and his men will take more hope and inspiration from the second half display and comeback, and will need it, facing fears rivals Manchester United next in the Europa League.

Crystal Palace Goals: Ledley 48’.

Liverpool Goals: Firmino 72’ & Benteke pen 96’.

Crystal Palace Team: 12 McCarthy; 12 Souare, 27 Delaney, 6 Dann (booked 11’), 2 Ward; 28 Ledley (26 Sako 82’), 15 Jedineik, 7 Cabaye (22 Mutch 70’), 11 Zaha; 10 Bolasie, 25 Adebayor (Gayle 82’). 4-4-2
Subs not used: 1 Speroni, 14 Lee Chung-Wong, 29 Chamakh & 34 Kelly.

Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 18 Moreno (booked 86’), 17 Sakho, 6 Lovren, 38 Flanagan (10 Coutinho 61’); 20 Lallana, 23 Can, 14 Henderson (booked 10’), 7 Milner (booked 40’, 2nd yellow 62’); 11 Firmino (4 Toure 88’); 27 Origi (9 Benteke 80’). 4-4-1-1
Subs not used: 2 Clyne, 15 Sturridge, 24 Allen & 52 Ward.

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Adam Lallana
Attendance: 24,709

Match Stats: Crystal Palace-Liverpool
Possession: 62%-38%
Shots: 19-14
On target: 5-4
Corners: 6-6

Fouls: 16-12

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