Liverpool - Long-serving Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard bade an underwhelming
farewell to Anfield on Saturday as his side lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace
in his final home game for the club.
After almost 17 years of
service, 709 appearances, 185 goals and 10 trophies, the 34-year-old
midfielder had hoped to sign off on a winning note before joining the
Los Angeles Galaxy in July.
But although Adam Lallana put
Liverpool ahead, goals from Jason Puncheon and substitutes Wilfried Zaha
and Glenn Murray ruined the script as Palace ended a four-game losing
streak and claimed a first league win at Anfield since 1991.
defeat ended Liverpool's slim mathematical hope of Champions League
qualification ahead of their final game at Stoke City, but that was of
minor concern on a day that belonged to their beloved, home-grown
Several former Liverpool greats were among the 44 673
people in attendance, as well as ex-manager Gerard Houllier, who handed
an 18-year-old Gerrard his debut as a substitute against Blackburn
Rovers in November 1998.
Players from both sides formed a guard of
honour as Gerrard took to the pitch accompanied by his daughters
Lourdes, Lexie and Lilly-Ella, while fans in the Kop and Centenary Stand
formed mosaics in his honour.
Predictably, with Liverpool
realistically unable to qualify for the Champions League and Palace long
safe from relegation, the sense of occasion diminished the moment the
Palace's fans, meanwhile, seized an opportunity to
remind the man of the hour of the only title to have eluded him during
his distinguished Anfield career, chanting: "Have you ever seen Gerrard
win the league?"
But after 26
minutes a miscued pass by former Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly put
Scott Dann in trouble and Lallana pounced to run through and calmly lift
a shot past Wayne Hennessey.
It was not the cue for Liverpool to
take control, however, with Joe Ledley, Yannick Bolasie and Lee
Chung-yong all squandering chances for Palace, while Simon Mignolet got
down well to parry a deflected shot from Puncheon.
half-time Puncheon equalised, whipping a fine 20-yard free-kick into the
bottom-right corner after Emre Can had been booked for felling Bolasie.
Ibe, twice, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson shot wide for
Liverpool early in the second half, only for Zaha to give Palace the
lead on the hour.
A matter of seconds after replacing Lee, the
former Manchester United winger ghosted in at the back post to sweep
home a low cross from Bolasie, despite appearing to be offside.
had scored in his previous two games and with manager Brendan Rodgers
moving him further forward, he had chances to equalise, testing
Hennessey with a low shot and curling a free-kick over the bar.
after Bolasie had hit the bar, Palace won a penalty despite Lucas
Leiva's trip on Zaha occurring outside the box and although Mignolet
parried Murray's spot-kick, he scored at the second attempt.