Liverpool 1-3 Palace
Crystal Palace strolled into Anfield and pulled the plug on the Steven Gerrard farewell party. Alan Pardew's men come from behind yet again to win for the eighth time in ten away games since arriving at the club, completing a first league double over Liverpool since 1991/92.
Adam Lallana gave Liverpool lead, taking full advantage of the former Reds defender Martin Kelly wayward pass but from that moment on it was one way traffic.
Jason Puncheon equalised with his third direct free kick of the season before half time. His free kick has been raved about by Palace fans as he wrong footed Simon Mignolet and beat the keeper on his side of the goal after infamously pulling his shirt over his mouth in order to hide his instructions to Scott Dann. The Palace player of the year went into the wall, jumped around and ducked as Puncheon aimed for his head. This created the space the ball needed and the whip that was put on the ball did the rest.
Wilfried Zaha then came off the bench to score within a minute with his first touch after brilliant work down the right from Yannick Bolasie. Zaha then turned provider as he was felled for a penalty that Glenn Murray missed but comfortably followed up to slot the ball home.
The Best in the Last 20 Years?
Since I first walked through the doors of a Crystal Palace match back in 1994 I have seen some great moments. Hopkin at Wembley, Freedman at Stockport, Darren Powell at Sunderland, Zaha at Brighton and so on. Individual moments such as these are often talked about, however, great performances are mentioned as a bit of an afterthought.
In recent times I always look back to our performance at home against Blackburn in the promotion season. We played them off the park in such comprehensive fashion I waited outside the ground after to tell our captain exactly what I thought of the performance in a series of superlatives that had the big man choked up. That was the Championship though. The likes of Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling etc were not the competition that day. The performance from moment we fell behind has to be the best that I have ever seen us play in the 21 years of watching my team.
The technical brilliance of Puncheon and Chamakh, the flair of the Zaha and Bolasie, the industry of McArthur, the imperious figure of Dann at the back. It goes on. To see one of the top teams in England have not a single of idea of how to stop us was a joy to behold and there could have no complaints if we hit them for six or seven.
Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon
His performance levels really are starting to reach obscene levels. Just like last season it took a while for him to get going but now that he has he is irresistible. He is thriving under the increased responsibility that Alan Pardew has given him and the initial calls for him to be recognised at international level are start to look less and less ridiculous.
In this game he attempted nine dribbles and was successful every time. He found the back of the net with a genius free kick. He made Sterling look like a schoolboy with a ridiculous piece of "elastico" skill, nut-megging him and prompting a vine that is pushing for 1 million loops now. He was backheeling through balls. The list goes on.
If he can pin two halves of a season together our league finish next season could be very impressive indeed.
It is quite amazing that his performance is not earning him man of the match. He was unplayable for most of the day and showed that he is starting to get the hang of leading the line. He battled for 80 minutes in a display filled with outrageous skill that earned him a standing ovation from the Liverpool fans when he was replaced by Glenn Murray.
It is a shame that his mistake led to the goal as other than that his performance was almost faultless. He has said that he is a centre back and he certainly looked more than comfortable in there.
A little look out is that Sterling managed to suck him out of position a couple of times which opened up space in behind and a better player would punish him, but that really is looking for holes in relation to where an outstanding performance could improve.
Considering it was Gerrard's last game I thought that the Liverpool fans were a joke. But for the odd burst of a Gerrard song they were silent and could only stand and admire our skill in attack and our noise in the stands.
Arguably a portion of the Palace fans were louder in their support for Gerrard. Some will like that and some will not (I fall under the latter) but each to their own. How I look at Gerrard is that he has done some fantastic things for Liverpool but fell short for our country so I find it hard to offer support on the grounds that I am not a Liverpool fan... well that and I used to be a DJ.
Up Next: Swansea City
Is the season really over?
We will be looking to better both out points tally and position of last season but will face a tough game against a Swansea team that has outplayed us so often in recent years. But with 10th place up for grabs (apparently £2.7m more in prize money than 12th place) and the opportunity to not finish bottom of the home league table, I would hope that we will be able to end the season on a high.
Come on you Palace.