By Mike Collett
Crystal Palace heaped more misery on Liverpool when they came from behind to win 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday, six months after effectively ending the northern club’s title hopes when they drew 3-3.
Palace’s home victory, with goals from Dwight Gayle, Joe Ledley and a superb curling free kick from Mile Jedinak, condemned Liverpool to a third successive league defeat after Rickie Lambert scored his first goal for the club to put them ahead in the second minute.
Gayle equalised after 17 minutes when Yannick Bolasie’s shot rebounded back to him off a post.
Ledley made it 2-1 from close range after 78 minutes when he shot through goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s legs and Palace skipper Jedinak sealed the points, meaning Liverpool have won two of their last nine league matches.
The win ended a run of five league matches without a victory for Palace and lifted them to 12 points as they moved out of the bottom three and into 15th place, two points behind Liverpool who slipped to 12th on 14.
Liverpool led Palace 3-0 in May and were on course to win their first league title since 1990 but the hosts scored three late goals to earn a draw, a result that effectively handed Manchester City the title.
Jedinak told Sky Sports: “We didn’t help ourselves by conceding so early on, but the reaction from the boys after that was first class. We kept it tight at the back after the goal … we are ecstatic.”
Bolasie, whose DR Congo team qualified for the African Nations Cup finals in the week, added: “It has been one of the best weeks of my life. Qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring two goals in that, and setting one up today. I did well against Liverpool last year and had a good feeling today.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who made more than 700 appearances for the club during a 16-year career, was scathing about Liverpool.
“This is more than just a poor start, there is something wrong. It’s not right, they are getting bullied out of games,” he said on Sky Sports.
“When they came here last season we said they were mentally and physically weak. Same again now, nothing has changed.
“They are still mentally weak. There is no leadership on the pitch.”
Liverpool started well and were ahead after only 90 seconds when Lambert, who joined his hometown club from Southampton in the close season, collected a cross from his former Saints team mate Adam Lallana to score his first Reds goal.
But Palace were soon level when Gayle, who scored twice in the 3-3 draw in May, was on target again and from that point on Palace largely dominated the match and were the deserved winners.
In the late Sunday game Tottenham Hotspurs came back from behind to defeat ten man Hull City by two goals to one.
Spurs needed a 90th minute goal from Christian Eriksen to win at Hull, who took the lead through former Spurs midfielder Jake Livermore after nine minutes but lost their way after Gaston Ramires was sent off after 50 minutes.
Spurs dominated from then on, equalising through Harry Kane after 61 minutes when he was first to react after an Eriksen free kick rebounded back off a post, before the Dane scored the winner in the dying minutes.