Juergen Klopp delighted as Christian Benteke scores late penalty to give Liverpool victory over Crystal Palace
The Reds’ third straight Premier League victory lifts them to seventh place
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that “passion” had been the determining factor in his side’s gritty 2-1 comeback victory at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.
Liverpool fell behind to Joe Ledley’s 48th-minute strike and then had James Milner sent off for two bookable offences, only for Roberto Firmino to level before substitute Christian Benteke won and scored a 96th-minute penalty.
Klopp gambled following Milner’s dismissal, sending Benteke on up front alongside Firmino, and his punt paid off as the visitors secured a third successive league win that lifted them to seventh place in the table.
“You can try, but the rest is passion,” the German told Sky Sports at Selhurst Park. “For defence, you always need more passion than formation.
“We changed to 3-4-2. That’s what we tried, a little bit risky. Dejan Lovren had to be the right-back and centre-half.
“We brought on Kolo Toure to save the result at the end, but you take what you can get. We had moments to score, but now everything is OK.
“Football is like this. You make a plan at the end, but the lads did great. This is the third league win in a row. I can’t believe how it feels – really good, a big moment for us.”
The referee awarded a penalty on the advice of his assistant and Benteke took the kick himself, halting midway through his run-up before slotting it home into the corner.
Palace, without a win since December 19, led through Ledley in the 48th minute and appeared to be in control after Milner’s sending-off for a second yellow card in the 62nd.
Liverpool looked more dangerous when down to 10 men and equalised when Firmino pounced on a mis-hit clearance from Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, drove forward and slotted a finish past McCarthy in the 72nd.
Liverpool’s best chance of winning the game appeared to have passed when Alberto Moreno struck the post with a fierce, long-range shot but there was still time for the late drama involving Benteke, who was thrown on ahead of fellow striker Daniel Sturridge.
After three straight wins for the first time in 12 months, Liverpool are six points off the Champions League qualification positions with 10 games left.
On Benteke’s impact, Klopp said: “He made the move and forced the situation. It was a clear penalty and then he was pretty cool with the penalty.”
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press