Christian Benteke’s penalty with the last kick of the game put an end to Liverpool’s Crystal Palace curse as the 10-man visitors snatched a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park.
There was little sign of Liverpool’s season’s-best performance against Manchester City from midweek, but they had the luck which has evaded them against Palace of late.
Alex McCarthy’s gaffe gifted Roberto Firmino an equaliser after Joe Ledley had fired the Eagles into a deserved lead, and there was some doubt about the award of the penalty.
Referee Andre Marriner initially waved away Liverpool’s appeals, but his assistant felt that Benteke’s ankle had been clipped by the sliding knee of Damien Delaney.
The substitute stepped up from 12 yards to cooly slot the ball into the bottom corner, with admirable confidence to say that he has had a difficult time of it in recent months.
It is an excellent three points for Jurgen Klopp’s men considering that James Milner had been sent off with half an hour still to play, and takes them seventh in the table.
The Merseyside boys have suffered some devastating recent results against Palace, who inflicted a first loss on Klopp as Liverpool boss in November’s reverse fixture at Anfield.
They also famously came from three goals down to draw 3-3 and derail Liverpool’s title charge in 2014, and gatecrashed Steven Gerrard’s Anfield farewell last campaign.
And the hosts, now winless in 12 games, looked motivated to take Liverpool’s scalp once again as they came close to an opening goal three times in the opening quarter of an hour.
Simon Mignolet saved bravely at the feet of Yannick Bolasie and kept out Emmanuel Adebayor, who also hit the crossbar with a header after Liverpool had switched off at the back.
The Reds lacked the cutting edge that was on display in Wednesday’s 3-0 win versus the Citizens, and were not sparked into life until they found themselves up against it.
Ledley picked out the bottom corner with a left-footed rasper on 48 minutes, and Liverpool were down to 10 men on 62 minutes after Milner was shown a second yellow card.
The midfielder had only just been asked to drop in at full-back for the substituted Jon Flanagan when he lost control and foolishly hacked down Eagles winger Wilfried Zaha.
But the Reds improved upon losing a man and were level when McCarthy slipped and scuffed a clearance straight to Firmino, who helped himself to a seventh goal in eight league games.
Liverpool’s 10 men appeared the more dangerous side in the final 15 minutes, and were rewarded for their spirited response to Milner’s red with their stoppage-time winner.
Out-of-sorts Palace remain nine points above the relegation zone, while Liverpool have back-to-back wins to take into Thursday’s huge Europa League clash with Manchester United.
Liverpool player ratings: Mignolet 7, Flanagan 5, Lovren 8, Sakho 7, Moreno 6, Can 7, Henderson 6, Milner 5, Lallana 5, Firmino 6, Origi. Substitutes: Coutinho 5, Benteke 7, Toure N/a.
Ex-Liverpool & Chelsea manager tipped for Premier League return if troubled manager gets sacked
Unpicked Brazil XI: Liverpool, Arsenal & PSG stars snubbed in favour of ageing donkeys
Charlie Adam slams Liverpool pair for bottling penalties in Capital One Cup final