Christian Benteke scored twice against his former club as Crystal Palace put a huge dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes courtesy of a 2-1 win at Anfield.
The Belgian, who moved from Merseyside to south London last summer, proved too much for Liverpool’s defence to handle in the box, scoring a goal in each half to dent his old club’s Champions League qualification hopes.
Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring mid-way through the first-half in majestic fashion when he curled a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards giving Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey no chance.
But after coming close to breaking the deadlock earlier in the game, former Red Benteke levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time when he stabbed home at the back post from Yohan Cabaye’s cross before celebrating with Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho on the sideline.
That goal took all momentum away from Liverpool and barring another Coutinho opportunity, the hosts struggled to create anything of any real note in the second period.
Palace turned the screw with 20 minutes to play as Cabaye volleyed over from close range, only minutes before Benteke’s stooping header won the game for Sam Allardyce’s side.
The Eagles, who have now won on their last three visits to Anfield, move up to 12th and are now seven points above the drop zone with only five games to play.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s unbeaten run of seven games is now over and while they remain third, the Reds are only three points above fifth-placed Manchester United who have two games in hand over their rivals.
Inspirational Benteke comes back to haunt Klopp – As the Belgian wheeled away in celebration after scoring his second of the game, the Liverpool coach may have wondered why he ever sold the forward in the first place. He may also ponder the reasons why he insists on playing the woeful Dejan Lovren whose defensive vulnerabilities were highlighted once again. While the result almost certainly guarantees Palace's top-flight status next season, it raises questions over Liverpool's top-four credentials.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) – The 26-year-old has now scored more Premier League goals at Anfield as a visiting player having netted five times at the famous ground.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Benteke stars as Palace stun Liverpool at Anfield