Scott Dann's header in the final ten minutes gave visiting Crystal Palace a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield Sunday evening, handing Juergen Klopp his first loss as the new boss of the Reds. Yannick Bolasie and Phillipe Coutinho had traded first half goals before Dann snatched the winner, rising above Roberto Fimino to a corner from the right, then putting home a second-chance header.
Klopp will have been pleased with the way his Reds continually tried to force the action against an opponent that was always dangerous, but Alan Pardew's side was every bit as strong and will feel they deserved all three points from a pulsating contest.
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The win boosted Palace to eighth in the table, above Liverpool which is now tenth after a positive showing from both.
Bolasie's 21st minute goal was a combination of his fine finish, good approach work by Wilfried Zaha on the right and sloppy defending by both Alberto Moreno and Emre Can in the Liverpool center. Moreno might have cut out the initial movement but succeeded only in setting up Zaha's strong run for the cross that went through Mamadou Sakho's legs.
When the ball came over Emre Can seemed in two minds, neither reacting with an immediate clearance attempt, nor knocking the ball away from immediate danger. Instead he inadvertently set up Bolasie to turn and fire through a tangle of bodies into the near right corner.
The Reds got a scare in the 35th minute when defender Mamadou Sakho landed awkwardly and appeared to pick up a right leg injury. After hobbling off the field, Sakho initially shook off the injury and returned to the applause of the Anfield faithful, but minutes later he could not continue and was replaced by Dejan Lovren.
Coutinho, the best player on the field in the opening half, then got Liverpool level when he completed a lovely five-pass movement in the 42nd minute as the Reds swung the ball from right to left to right. Lallana's back-heel, dummied by Benteke, opened the door for the fast-closing scorer to power his shot past Wayne Hennessey's left hand. Jordan Ibe and Clyne were also involved as Liverpool moved the ball with speed and precision through the Palace box, giving the defenders no time to react.
The match remained wide open in the second half with Benteke having two good chances in the first quarter-hour and Bakary Sako, set up by Zaha, unable to find the near left corner off a fine Palace counter attack raid. The pace was high and the entertainment top value as both teams looked for the win rather than protecting the draw. Zaha was particularly noticeable as he tested Liverpool's defense with his pace and strength.
Klopp sent Roberto Firmino on for Emre Can in the 64th minute, perhaps looking to freshen the Liverpool attack which was still operating at full speed, but not putting Hennessey under any consistent pressure. Benteke and Lallana were combining well, but neither had any luck putting the last touch on goal.
Jason Puncheon brought a fine save from Simon Mignolet in the 73rd minute when he let fly from long range as Palace was giving as good as it received and showed no drop in pace as they headed into the final quarter-hour. That effort paid off for them ten minutes later.
The decisive 82nd minute goal came as Mignolet could only parry the first header as Dann got firm contact. The ball rebounded directly into his path for a second chance that flew into the net from close range.