Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - story of the match

Christian Benteke continued his irresistible scoring streak with a brace against former club Liverpool, inspiring Crystal Palace to a 2-1 Premier League victory at Anfield and denting the home side's Champions League bid.

Benteke's face did not fit under Jurgen Klopp's regime but he has always thrived when lining up against the Reds, and his match-winning brace took his record to seven goals in eight appearances against them.

His performance overshadowed that of Philippe Coutinho, whose brilliant free-kick had given Liverpool the lead, and virtually ensured Palace's top-flight status for another season having reached 38 points in a remarkable turnaround under Sam Allardyce.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

Crystal Palace's official account (@CPFC): "42: SUPER move Palace. Excellent. (Joel) Ward with the ball over the top for (Yohan) Cabaye, his first time cross is perfect and Benteke thunders home."

Liverpool's official account (@LFC): "42: Goal. Benteke makes it 1-1."

The clubs' official social media accounts offer contrasting accounts of the second goal.

STAR MAN

Christian Benteke. Like Liam Neeson's character in Taken, the Belgian striker has a very particular set of skills. He will find Liverpool and he will score against them. He took his time getting into the game but was ruthless and deadly when the opportunity presented itself, not to mention a dominant physical presence. The timidity of Divock Origi in the other penalty box provided a stark point of comparison.

DIVIDED LOYALTIES?

Mamadou Sakho may have sat the game out due to the terms of his loan deal but he still managed to make an impression on the match. The Frenchman says he still hopes to return to the Reds but, if that is the case, his decision to celebrate Benteke's equaliser with the Belgian a couple of yards away from Jurgen Klopp may not have been the best course of action. Liverpool fans on social media were not happy either and the unhappy union is one step closer to dissolving in the summer.

STAT OF THE DAY

This was Sam Allardyce's first league success at Anfield, putting right a glaring omission from his lengthy Premier League CV. The former England boss had suggested prior to the match that he paid no attention to his personal records but he was informed enough about the streak to point out a League Cup win with Bolton in 2003. Make no mistake, he will enjoy this one.

RATINGS

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet: 6/10

Nathaniel Clyne: 6

Dejan Lovren: 5

Joel Matip: 5

James Milner: 5

Lucas: 6

Emre Can: 5

Georginio Wijnaldum: 6

Roberto Firmino: 6

Philippe Coutinho: 7

Divock Origi: 5

Substitutes:

Alberto Moreno (for Milner): 6

Trent Alexander-Arnold (for Lovren): 5

Marko Grujic (for Clyne): 5

Crystal Palace

Wayne Hennessey: 6

Joel Ward: 7

James Tomkins: 6

Martin Kelly: 6

Jeffrey Schlupp: 7

Luka Milivojevic: 7

Yohan Cabaye: 8

Andros Townsend: 6

Jason Puncheon: 7

Wilfried Zaha: 6

Christian Benteke: 8

Substitutes:

Patrick van Aanholt (for Zaha): 6

Damien Delaney (for Cabaye): 5

Frazier Campbell (for Benteke): 5

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Watford v Liverpool (Premier League, May 1)

Crystal Palace v Tottenham (Premier League, Apr 26)

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