|Scott Dann's late strike subjected Jurgen Klopp to his first defeat as Liverpool manager, with Crystal Palace leaving a soaking Anfield 2-1 winners. |
The Merseysiders have showed good progress since the German came in to replace Brendan Rodgers, but the defeat ends their 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions while Alan Pardew's Palace climbed to eighth after winning their second successive game in the north west.
The visiting side started brightly, Pardew’s men were intent on pressing Liverpool high up the field and they got their rewards after 20 minutes, when Yannick Bolasie punished the Reds for some poor defending by powering a shot past Simon Mignolet.
Bakary Sako had a strike ruled out for offside, after another defensive error, and the hosts were back on level terms before the interval.
Philippe Coutinho, who scored two stunners in the win at Chelsea last week, added his fourth goal of the campaign with a well-crafted finish following a good move by Klopp’s side.
With 81 minutes played, the game could have gone either way and Dann headed Palace's winner after reacting quickest to head home the rebound and hand Palace another victory at Anfield.
Klopp made four changes to the side which beat Rubin Kazan in midweek, with goalscorer Jordon Ibe keeping his place and Martin Skrtel, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho coming into the side, along with Lucas Leiva who acted as captain in James Milner's absence.
Palace made two changes from their draw with Manchester United,with Pape Souare replacing Joel Ward and Dwight Gayle was missing with a hamstring injury, with Sako taking his spot.
With club legend Steven Gerrard watching in the stands, the Reds showed some sloppiness in the opening exchanges, with their 4,000-mile round midweek trip to Russia in theEuropa League taking effect.
Palace started on the front foot, playing Liverpool at their own pressing game and Mamadou Sakho was nearly caught out and punished for a mistake at the back, but he made amends by sliding the ball away from Bolasie in the box.
The Eagles got their reward on a wet and windy Merseyside when they opened the scoring.
Alberto Moreno was caught out of position and their left side was exposed. Wilfried Zaha sent in a low cross, Emre Can miscontrolled in the box and it fell kindly to the Congolese international, who fired through a crowd of bodies past the helpless Mignolet from 12 yards.
Liverpool’s best chance came shortly after the half-hour mark when former Palace man Nathaniel Clyne zipped the ball to Adam Lallana, the former Saints captain showing a deft touch on the right-hand side of the box. He pulled the ball across the box for Christian Benteke, who was reaching behind him and he failed to get clear contact on the ball.
It looked like Sakho had to be replaced after picking up an injury and Dejan Lovren was ready to come on. The Frenchman opted to continue and he instantly gifted the ball to Bolasie, who buried the ball into the bottom corner of the net but the goal was ruled out for offside and the defender limped off minutes later.
The Reds were level shortly before the break as Brazilian playmaker Coutinho continued his good form. The cross came in from the right and Lallana’s flick to the corner of the six-yard box saw the 23-year-old finish neatly under Eagles’ keeper Wayne Hennessey.
Benteke squandered a good chance early in the second half, shooting over as the contest became increasingly end-to-end.
Summer signing Sako nearly put the London side back in front as he fired into the side-netting from an acute angle and an instant counter-attacking move saw Benteke head just over the bar from point-blank range at the other end.
The decisive strike went to Pardew's Palace with less than ten minutes left on the clock.
From the corner, childhood Reds supporter Dann rose to head on target. Beligan stopper Mignolet saved but he parried into Dann's path and the defender turned home to hand the Eagles all three points.
24/7 live chat: