Goalscorers: Joe Allen 18, Damien Delaney 53 OG, Luis Suarez 55, Damien Delaney 79, Dwight Gayle 81, 88
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward, Kagisho Dikgacoi (Tom Ince 85), Mile Jedinak, Jason Puncheon (Dwight Gayle 65), Joe Ledley, Yannick Bolasie, Marouane Chamakh (Glenn Murray 71)
Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Jon Flanagan, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Lucas, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling (Philippe Coutinho 78), Daniel Sturridge (Victor Moses 86), Luis Suarez
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 25,261
Following Manchester City’s win at Everton 48 hours earlier, Liverpool FC couldn’t afford any slip-ups in their penultimate match of the 2013-2014 season at Selhurst Park against an ever-improving Crystal Palace side. The Reds knew a victory would put them top of the table again, even if the destiny of the championship was out of their hands.
Goal difference was against the Reds but they were an attacking threat from all directions and this was shown early on when Glen Johnson made a deep run from full-back and only just headed wide of the post after being picked out beautifully by Joe Allen. On 18 minutes, Allen opened the scoring. The Welshman escaped his markers at the far post to guide home Steven Gerrard’s corner, scoring his first Premier League goal for the club in the process.
Palace came into the match having won five of their last six matches and certainly contributed to the contest. Both Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak forced Simon Mignolet into vital saves in the first half to preserve Liverpool’s lead at the interval.
That advantage was doubled eight minutes into the second half. Daniel Sturridge’s shot deflected off Damien Delaney and into the corner of Julian Speroni’s net. Two minutes later, Raheem Sterling picked out Luis Suarez and the Premier League’s top scorer bagged his 31st goal of the campaign from close-range. All of a sudden, Liverpool had raced clear into a 3-0 lead and sensed an opportunity to score more goals. They didn’t come and Brendan Rodgers’ side were about to be stunned in an amazing final 11 minutes.
First, Delaney’s fortunes changed. Given time to try his luck, the centre-back saw his own effort deflect off Johnson and rise into the top corner, giving Mignolet no chance. It was a time for Liverpool to stay calm and take the result they had but two minutes later, Palace grabbed another goal back. Yannick Bolasie’s searing pace on the counter-attack left the visitors short in defensive numbers. Bolasie picked out substitute Dwight Gayle who produced an excellent finish into the bottom corner.
The home supporters could sense the sudden shift in momentum and the remarkable comeback was completed in the 88th minute. A long ball up the field was chested on by Glenn Murray into the path of Gayle who scored his second of the evening to make it 3-3. In eight crazy minutes, the Reds had forfeited a three-goal lead and their title chances were all but gone. As Martin Tyler put it in his Sky Sports commentary: “Liverpool have caved in!”
Rodgers’ side had one final chance from a corner but Lucas was denied by Speroni and soon afterwards, the final whistle was blown. The point did actually take Liverpool top of the table but it was advantage Manchester City. The tears from Suarez at full-time said it all. Liverpool had thrown it away and six days later, Manchester City’s second Premier League title was confirmed.