Christian Benteke gets his revenge, Crystal Palace upset Liverpool
Crystal Palace showed their mettle despite going 1-0 down early in the game. A Christian Benteke double secured all three points, putting Palace within touching-distance of Premier League safety.
Palace's character shone through. Despite the early set-back, they stuck to Sam Allardyce's gameplan and fought their way back into the game with Benteke's equaliser, then took the initiative with his winner. The defensive rigidity -- so often the bane of top-six sides since Allardyce took over -- ensured that all three points went back to South London.
The free kick Liverpool scored from was given away in a bad position, especially when you consider how lethal Philippe Coutinho can be from that position. But Palace made up for it with the effort and organisation that followed.
8 -- Palace have been remarkable for two months now, and much of that is down to the manager's work. The turn-around, with performances like this one, should put Allardyce in Manager of the Season contention.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Wayne Hennessey, 7 -- Suspect positioning for Liverpool's goal, and some questionable decision-making too. His distribution was excellent as ever, though.
DF Jeffrey Schlupp, 7 -- Had some difficulty dealing with Liverpool's targeted attacks down the left wing, but he appeared to settle during the second half.
DF James Tomkins, 9 -- Impressive as ever, putting his feet and head in difficult places to ensure Palace got the win. The victim of a nasty tackle from Marko Grujic, a foul worthy of a red card, he persisted in attack during injury time and did his job there, too.
DF Martin Kelly, 8 -- A player that looked shell-shocked during Palace's poor spell under Alan Pardew, it's great to see Kelly put in excellent performances like this one, reading the game and his opponents perfectly.
DF Joel Ward, 8 -- Provided the opening for the first goal with a delightful pass into the space ahead of Yohan Cabaye, who then crossed to Benteke. His defensive work was outstanding, too.
MF Luka Milivojevic, 8 -- Does an impressive job at providing a blanket of coverage to Palace's defence. He ran 11.9km during the match, more than any other player on the pitch.
MF Yohan Cabaye, 9 -- Does so much work in a box-to-box midfielder role. His cross for Benteke's equaliser was perfectly weighted and placed.
MF Jason Puncheon, 8 -- Tirelessly ran the midfield for Palace, defensively and offensively. What he doesn't contribute in goals he makes up for in effort and organisation.
FW - Wilfried Zaha, 7 -- Found the game a little difficult to get into. Liverpool marked him well, but he still provided an outlet during spells of pressure.
FW Christian Benteke, 9 -- Took his first goal coolly and showed great awareness for the second. His work at holding the ball up won't get much credit but it has been integral to Palace's style.
FW Andros Townsend, 9 -- Like Zaha, he found it difficult to get into the game. But his defensive work, essentially playing as a wing-back for much of the second half, made a great difference to Palace's defending.
DF Patrick van Aanholt, NR -- Brought on for Zaha and provided defensive cover to Schlupp.
DF Damien Delaney, NR -- Brought on to provide defensive steel, and did what was asked of him.
FW Fraizer Campbell, NR -- Tasked with chasing Liverpool's defenders, in place of an exhausted-looking Benteke. Did what was needed.
Robert Sutherland is ESPN FC's Crystal Palace blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @RoDuSu.