Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew may not have been happy about the way Sunday’s game ended, claiming Christian Benteke dove in the final minute of stoppage time that earned Liverpool all three points with the last meaningful kick of the match.
For Liverpool goalkeeper and Benteke compatriot Simon Mignolet, though, replays showed that there was clear contact. It may not have been much, but as Mignolet sees it, clipping a Benteke’s foot when he’s running at full speed is going to make it a touch difficult for him to stay on his feet.
"I’ve seen it again and there’s clearly contact," Mignolet told the Liverpool Echo. "Christian goes past the defender, who slides in, catches him with his knee and Christian isn’t able to continue his run. It’s a correct decision to give the penalty. Christian kept his cool really well to put it away."
Benteke arguably put in his best performance for Liverpool leading up to the penalty. Whether it will be enough to change his fate at Liverpool, though, and in the midst of an underwhelming season that has seen him go from £32.5M signing to fourth on the depth chart, remains a question.
But for at least the 15 minutes he was on the pitch on Sunday, he worked hard, attacked the right areas, and was a constant threat for a Liverpool side desperately pushing for a late and unlikely win down to ten men. It was a positive outing for Benteke, something that he hasn’t had too many of this year.
It was also a very bad final few minutes for Crystal Palace. Pardew may bemoan a late penalty call, but with his side up a goal and a man it was clear the hosts thought the game was won, and that mindset as much as anything is what allowed Liverpool to fight their way back into the match and win.
"He made a big impact when he came off the bench," added Mignolet. "When you have players like Christian and Phil to bring off the bench, it shows the strength of the squad at the moment. They changed the game and I thought we deserved to win in the end. Everyone is pleased with how we reacted to going a man down.
"Tactically, maybe it actually helped us a bit because we played with three at the back and we stopped the counter-attacks from Palace by doing that. They sat back and let us back in the game. We played so well with 10 men. We defended really well and created chances."