Ben Twelves 23 April 2017
Liverpool’s top-four hopes suffered a big blow as Christian Benteke marked his Anfield return with a brace to condemn the Reds to a costly 2-1 defeat.
Liverpool 1–2 Crystal Palace
Premier League, Anfield
April 23, 2017
Goals: Coutinho 24’ ; Benteke 42’, 74’
Benteke haunts the Reds
It always seemed so inevitable. Sam Allardyce said post-match he’d have bet on it, if he could have.
Klopp gave his team a public warning about the threat Christian Benteke would pose, but the Reds’ defence failed to heed the boss’ warning signs, affording him the freedom of Anfield to rub salt into the wounds and turn in a match-winning display on his return.
Poor defending allowed the one-time £32.5million signing to convert the sort of chance he so often missed while wearing a red shirt in front of the Kop, before yet more set-pieces struggles gifted him an easy winner 15 minutes from time.
The brace has now seen Benteke score more goals at Anfield as a visiting player (5) than he managed in L4 while playing for us (4), with the Palace front-man now having netted seven goals in eight appearances against Liverpool.
It was painful to witness, especially with Mamadou Sakho joining in the celebrations, but it was always so predictable.
Set-piece softness resumes
It seemed a corner had finally been turned at West Brom.
The Reds defended aerial balls superbly, keeping the league’s most proficient outfit from set-pieces at bay at the Hawthorns, with the whole team carrying out jobs perfectly.
Liverpool then even won the game scoring from one in a shock turn of events, Firmino arriving with perfect timing to convert Lucas’ flick-on after James Milner’s free-kick.