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Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 3: First Thoughts

In Steven Gerrard's final game at Anfield, Crystal Palace spoiled the party by taking all three points.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Liverpool 1 Lallana 26'
Crystal Palace 3 Puncheon 43', Zaha 60', Murray 90+1'

  • Pre-match thoughts: Steven Gerrard started his final game at Anfield as expected in an attacking line-up as Liverpool looked to send off a true legend with victory and seal fifth ahead of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur

  • It was good to see the likes of Alberto Moreno and Jordon Ibe start the game, but it was better seeing a mobile forward in Raheem Sterling lead the line with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho in support. Early efforts from Coutinho and Emre Can in the opening stages came to nothing as the home side dominated a game that lacked intensity and bite as both sides had not much to really play for.

  • After a quarter of an hour, the game settled into a pattern where Liverpool held the ball for over 80% possession while the visitors were content to look for counter attacking opportunities.

  • Raheem Sterling pressured Martin Kelly who played a ball inside to Scott Dann who was robbed by Adam Lallana. He had some way to run through on goal and could have squared it to Sterling but finished emphatically to give Liverpool the lead on 26 minutes. Mobility and pressure pay off.

  • Oh dear. Crystal Palace equalise almost immediately as Yannick Bolasie bullied Dejan Lovren off the ball on the right to create an excellent shooting opportunity for Joe Ledley. The ball came to Ledley's stronger left foot, but the Welsh international shot over the bar. Palace had another chance soon after but Bolasie joined Ledley in firing over.

  • Crystal Palace equalised from an excellent Jason Puncheon free-kick. Emre Can was booked after making a clumsy challenge outside the area before Puncheon showed his dead ball skills once again. Instead of sending the ball into the corner closest to the defensive wall, Puncheon surprised Simon Mignolet by selecting the other corner of the goal.

  • Half-time thoughts: An surprisingly entertaining half with Philippe Coutinho dazzling and Lallana impressing, but Liverpool were unconvincing defensively with the back three against the direct talents of Bolasie and Puncheon. Sadly the midfield was an area of weakness with a partnership that has often sapped the talents of the younger member.

  • Liverpool nearly regained the lead through Jordan Henderson and Jordon Ibe. The vice-captain couldn't get a shot off after a controlling the ball with his chest and Ibe shot narrowly wide from the loose ball.

  • The first ten minutes of the second half were populated by some swift Crystal Palace counters that troubled Liverpool's backline and shots dragged wide by the home side. The visitors looked dangerous as Liverpool were struggling down both flanks with no tactical reaction from Rodgers to the problems Crystal Palace were causing. Wilfried Zaha scored on the hour mark 22 seconds after coming on as the left side was breached with ease. The goal was probably offside but more worrying was the constant danger posed by Palace.

  • The goal forced Rodgers to belatedly react to systemic concerns seen from the middle of the first half by bringing on Lucas Leiva and Rickie Lambert for Jordon Ibe and Adam Lallana. The move from a back three to a back four should have been made at half time instead of during the second half against opponents with pace and enthusiasm in wide areas.

  • The away side started to defend deeper and in this low block gave away free-kicks late in last twenty minutes of the second half, but Liverpool were unable to profit. Gerrard was pushed forward in search of a goal.

  • A late penalty after a foul from Lucas on Zaha. Mignolet saved the penalty from Glenn Murray but couldn't stop the follow up from the penalty taker to secure all three points.

  • Full-time thoughts: This may not have been the ideal way to say goodbye but the fans defiantly bellowed praise for a legend in the face of defeat. 

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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