Gayle rains on Liverpool parade as palace stun Kop with late comeback
Crystal palace came from three goals down to draw at home to title chasers Liverpool in one of the most stunning Premier League matches this season.
Goals from Joe Allen and deadly duo Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, AKA, SAS, had seemingly booked the reds another three points, that was however until Palace stole two precious points from them with a trio of goals in the final ten minutes.
Damien Delaney pulled one back for the home side via a deflected effort, which would be followed up by Eagles substitute Dwight Gayle. It was a crushing blow for Brendan Rodgers team and this was highlighted by the heartbreaking emotion shown by star striker Suarez.
The league's highest scorers with ninety-nine tried frantically to notch up a hundredth, but their efforts would be in vain. Credit must go to Tony Pulis's side who throughout the night looked alert and positive, none more so than trickster Yannick Bolasie. A constant threat to the away side his speed and trickery (though not always successful) were a constant thorn in Liverpool's side.
The Merseysider's must now pray that Aston Villa can pick up an unlikely result at the Etihad Stadium which would leave the Premier League's final day as its most climactic yet.
But did this result highlight just what Liverpool need to improve the most? There is no doubting their attacking ability and many will argue it is twice as deadly as Chelsea's has been this season, but could the key to their loss be a dodgy defence? Young Jon Flanagan has been highly dependable this season but he was beaten by quick attacks on the wing a little too easily, the main culprit being Bolasie. Martin Skrtel has never really been the rock at the back and Mamadou Sakho, who missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring early on, has at times been less than reliable. Glen Johnson has always been regarded as an attacking threat and stung Julian Speroni's gloves with a trademark rasping shot, his defensive frailties have in the past been highlighted as major flaw in his game.
So, if Liverpool somehow do claim the league trophy, will this result go down as just a blip/learning curve/historical point? Or will it be seen as the reason (not forgetting the loss to Chelsea at home previously) that Liverpool just couldn't handle the pressure when it really mattered?
However their season ends, it should be looked at positively and their achievements highlighted immensely. The wait for Champions League football has come to an end as a top four status has been confirmed, the SAS partnership can only grow stronger (providing they both stay at the club), and the young players all seem to have a very bright future, especially with some of them possibly featuring in this summers World Cup.
So Liverpool should feel proud, and who knows, maybe they'll secure a league title without having to sweat too much next season.
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