Liverpool needed more than their fair share of luck to escape from Selhurst Park on Sunday with all three points after going down to 10 men. First, Crystal Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had to gift Roberto Firmino a goal in the form of a poor clearance. Then, Damien Delaney had to make the regrettable decision to go to ground for a challenge on Christian Benteke in the box in the last minute of play. Then Andre Marriner needed help from his assistant to spot the foul. And Finally, Benteke had to convert the penalty, which he did with ice-cold composure.
It was such a lucky and unusual string of events that the feat--coming from behind whilst down a man--had never been accomplished by any previous Liverpool side.
Palace fans could understandably be upset at the result. They could choose to be angry at their manager, Alan Pardew, for not making changes to exploit a weakened Liverpool defense. Or they could be angry at McCarthy for allowing Liverpool back in the match, and for going early on the penalty. They could choose to take out their ire on Delaney whose rash challenge and contact caused Benteke to go to ground, and forced a decision from the referees.
Or, they could blame it all on Christian Benteke for "diving" and start a petition to suspend the Belgian striker and dock Liverpool points. Seems reasonable. The petition reads as follows:
During the Premier League game on Sunday 6th March 2016 between Crystal Palace and Liverpool in the 94th minute Liverpool player Christian Benteke DIVED to con the refereeing officials to award Liverpool with a penalty which subsequently won them the game.
According to the FA diving or simulation is against the rules.
We, fans of Crystal Palace, demand that the FA look into this decision and if found that Christian Benteke did simulate contact he should be banned for a number of games and Liverpool Football Club to be fined six points at a minimum.
We understand that the result of the game cannot be changed but the FA need to come down on this sort of behaviour.
Personally, I always find online arguments more compelling when CAPS are used for emphasis.
The argument, of course, is ridiculous. Contact was clearly made by Delaney, and regardless of whether it was enough for Benteke to go to ground, it was enough to impede the striker at a crucial moment. And given that the modern game is what it is, any other professional striker would have done the same.
As of this writing, the petition has had over 1500 online signatures. I wouldn't recommend inviting any of them over for Monopoly night, lest you want the board flipped over mid-game.