Match ends, Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 2.
Liverpool 1-2 Crystal Palace
Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former club as Crystal Palace beat Liverpool at Anfield to take a giant stride towards Premier League survival and dent their opponents' top-four aspirations.
Benteke scored in either half as Sam Allardyce's Eagles mounted a brilliant fightback after Liverpool took the lead through Philippe Coutinho's fine free-kick.
Liverpool sold Benteke to Palace last summer for £5m less than they paid for the Belgium striker a year earlier, but it was his burly presence in the final third that proved the difference in an entertaining contest.
His first was a well-taken strike high into the net from Yohan Cabaye's low cross, his second a poacher's header from six yards after some lax Liverpool defending at a corner.
Palace - who also earned a brilliant win at leaders Chelsea on 1 April - have won six of their last eight league games to move on to 38 points, seven clear of danger and are all but assured of another season of top-flight football.
They have now triumphed on their last three league visits to Anfield - the first team to achieve that feat since Chelsea in October 2005.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds stay in third place, but they have played two games more than both Manchester City in fourth place and fifth-placed Manchester United, who are two and three points back respectively.
Laboured Liverpool lack cutting edge
On a day when one of their former players put on a striking masterclass, Liverpool's shortcomings in front of goal will be acutely felt.
Klopp's side racked up 72% possession, but just one shot on target in more than 90 minutes of play was scant return on that perceived dominance.
Coutinho's brilliant 30-yard strike aside, Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal had few scares, with the players in front of him performing superbly, particularly when they were called on to crowd out Coutinho when the Brazilian threatened to weave a path to goal in the second half.
A woeful mis-hit by Emre Can after good approach work by James Milner and Roberto Firmino summed up Liverpool's performance in the final third, and their manager conceded they had been guilty of failing to make the most of their possession.
"We dominated the game," Klopp said. "You have to be ready for the one moment. In the second half we had a really good period when everything was OK apart from the goal.
"We did a lot of good things but we could not finalise it. That's the most important thing in football."
Eagles soaring to safety
To say Anfield has become a happy hunting ground for Palace in recent years would be something of an understatement.
Palace were famously thumped 9-0 in the league there in 1989, but those days are now long gone, with the club from south-east London enjoying a sequence of three straight wins at the famous old ground.
They spoiled Steven Gerrard's Liverpool farewell with their first win in 2015, while the following season they inflicted a first defeat for Klopp in his seventh game at the helm.
This latest win was perhaps in part down to the confidence gleaned from those performances, as well as a superb run of form during April that also brought a one-sided win over Arsenal at Selhurst Park.
Palace had just seven shots on goal and three on target - but that was all they needed.
What chances they created were far more clear-cut than those of their opponents, and in Benteke they had the perfect target man to finish off the job.
Man of the match - Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
Allardyce wins at Anfield at 14th attempt - stats
- Liverpool lost at home in the Premier League after opening the scoring for the first time since May 2015, also against Crystal Palace (1-3).
- Sam Allardyce won his first Premier League match at Anfield as a manager, in what was his 14th attempt with the fifth different club.
- Allardyce has now guided the Eagles to seven league wins in 2017 - one more than they managed under predecessor Alan Pardew in the whole of 2016.
- Since Philippe Coutinho made his Premier League debut in February 2013, only Yaya Toure (14) has scored more goals from outside the box than the Brazilian (13).
- Coutinho is the fifth Brazilian player to score 10 or more goals in a single Premier League season after Gilberto Silva, Juninho, Robinho and team-mate Roberto Firmino.
- Christian Benteke has scored five goals in his previous three Premier League games at Anfield as an opposition player - at no away venue has he scored more in the competition (five).
- Benteke (11) is one of only four players to register 10 or more away goals in the Premier League this term (Alexis Sanchez 13, Sergio Aguero 12 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic 10).
- No Premier League side has conceded more direct free-kick goals this season than Crystal Palace (three - level with Everton).
'We have to squeeze everything out of this season'
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "I have no idea how Crystal Palace are in the situation they are. We knew it was difficult. We were dominant, you cannot create 20 chances in a game like this, you have to work and that is what we did.
"We scored a fantastic goal and more interesting situations and then out of nothing let them score. After you could see their confidence grew and in the second half we were dominant.
"They had counter-attack threat but again out of nothing we gave them an opportunity from a corner. The decisive one we missed the ball at the front post.
"It is frustrating, disappointing of course. Everyone thinks the Champions League has slipped through our fingers but we have one more month to stay positive. We have to try everything to squeeze everything out of this season."
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce: "Some goals you can't stop and that one we couldn't stop. But the recovery from that is good. Out of possession we frustrated Liverpool today so much that they had little opportunity to have a clean shot on goal.
"Liverpool were only as good as we allowed them to be. They had a lot of possession as did Chelsea and Arsenal. We did more with our possession than Liverpool and that is why we won.
"We finished our analysis with how many goals Liverpool have conceded from corners. We showed that it might not be the first ball in but the second or third if we make runs in the right areas.
"It has been hard work but we are looking up. We have five games to go but Tottenham on Wednesday will come too early. We will have to change the side to get fresh legs into the side. It is a big result today, it makes life so much easier."
Palace do not have long to prepare for their next match with Tottenham, who visit Selhurst Park on Wednesday (20:00 BST). For Liverpool, the wait is far longer as they travel to Watford on Monday, 1 May (20:00 BST).
- 2ClyneSubstituted forGrujicat 84'minutesBooked at 89mins
- 6LovrenSubstituted forAlexander-Arnoldat 79'minutes
- 7MilnerSubstituted forMorenoat 82'minutes
- 28MilivojevicBooked at 60mins
- 11ZahaSubstituted forvan Aanholtat 78'minutes
- 7CabayeSubstituted forDelaneyat 83'minutes
- 17BentekeBooked at 40minsSubstituted forCampbellat 88'minutes
- 3van Aanholt
- Andre Marriner
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 2.
Foul by Emre Can (Liverpool).
Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Marko Grujic (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.
Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).
Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Martin Kelly.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.
Marko Grujic (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Marko Grujic (Liverpool).
James Tomkins (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Fraizer Campbell replaces Christian Benteke.
Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Emre Can.
Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Liverpool. Marko Grujic replaces Nathaniel Clyne.
Offside, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Damien Delaney replaces Yohan Cabaye.
Substitution, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno replaces James Milner.