Last-gasp Benteke gives 10-man Liverpool win

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, which hosts Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, climbs two places to seventh after recording a third successive league win for the first time in a year.

Christian Benteke (R) celebrates with Emre Can after scoring an injury time penalty to give Liverpool a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.   -  REUTERS

Substitute Christian Benteke won and scored a 96th-minute penalty as 10-man Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Joe Ledley's 48th-minute strike and Liverpool midfielder James Milner's second-half dismissal for two bookable offences looked to have set Palace on course for a first win in 12 league matches. But a slip by Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy gifted Roberto Firmino a 72nd-minute equaliser, before Damien Delaney's rash challenge on Benteke enabled the Belgium striker to net the winner with a last-gasp penalty.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, which hosts Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, climbs two places to seventh after recording a third successive league win for the first time in a year. >Read: Benteke insists penalty call was correct

It was a fifth consecutive home league defeat for Alan Pardew's Palace, which remains nine points above the relegation zone in 15th place.

A thigh injury cost Palace the services of in-form striker Connor Wickham, who had scored four goals in his previous two games, but Emmanuel Adebayor quickly set about proving himself a capable deputy. He created the game's first clear chance in the seventh minute with a square pass for Yannick Bolasie, only for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to slide out bravely and save.

The Togo international then went close twice in as many minutes, first working Mignolet with a disguised shot towards the near post and then clattering the bar with a header from Pape Souare's left-wing cross.

Liverpool's carelessness in possession repeatedly gave Palace chances to attack and in the 25th minute Yohan Cabaye rippled the side-netting from Wilfried Zaha's pass after Divock Origi had lost the ball.

Preferred up front to Benteke and Daniel Sturridge, Origi curled the ball onto the roof of the net from just outside the box in Liverpool's only opening of the first half. >Read: Players believed more than me - Klopp

Any hopes that the half-time break would give Liverpool time to clear their heads evaporated within three minutes of the restart as Ledley slammed in after Mile Jedinak and Souare had seen shots blocked. It was the Wales international's first club goal in over a year.

Klopp reacted by introducing Philippe Coutinho for right-back Jon Flanagan, but within a minute his side were down to 10 men as Milner was shown a second yellow card for sliding in from behind on the fleeing Zaha.

However, while McCarthy had no trouble fielding Liverpool's first shot on target in the 65th minute, comfortably gathering a skidding effort from Firmino, seven minutes later his error allowed the visitor to level. The 26-year-old slipped as he attempted to send the ball downfield, sending the ball straight to Firmino, and the Brazilian took a touch before gratefully slotting home his eighth goal of the league campaign.

For all its efforts in the latter stages, it seemed victory would elude Liverpool, with McCarthy saving twice from Benteke, an 80th-minute replacement for Origi, and Alberto Moreno hitting the post from range.

But in the dying seconds of the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, Delaney unwisely slid in on Benteke as he chased Jordan Henderson's pass down the inside-right channel.

The Ireland international pulled out of the challenge at the last moment, but his right knee clipped Benteke's left foot and shortly after the substitute coolly sent McCarthy the wrong way from the spot.

>Match Centre

Key Opta stats 

- Palace has now gone 10 games without a clean sheet, conceding 2.3 goals per game on average.
- Milner was sent off in a Premier League game for only the second time in his career (versus WBA in Oct 2012).
- No Premier League side has scored more goals from corners this season than Crystal Palace (10) – level with Spurs. 
- Ledley scored his first Premier League goal in 26 appearances. Indeed, two of Ledley's five PL goals for Palace have come against Liverpool.
- Benteke ended a run of 715 minutes in all competitions without a goal for Liverpool.  

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