Crystanbul: On This Betting Day in 2014
Selhurst Park was the scene of the crime exactly six years ago today. Liverpool saw their hopes of winning their first ever Premier League title decimated in the unlikeliest of circumstances - allowing a three-goal lead to slip through their fingertips when they had silverware just millimeters from their grasp.
Liverpool had enjoyed a fantastic season under Brendan Rodgers in 2013-14, and the battle for the title between themselves and Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City had been fierce throughout the entire campaign. Indeed, with only two games remaining, the Reds were in the driving seat; a win over Palace would have given them a three-point lead over City at the summit of the Premier League with just one game remaining.
Bookmakers had given Liverpool a 73.5% chance of beating the Eagles on the night, with the draw only given an 18.5% probability of landing prior to kick-off. It was clear that the Reds were solid favourites, and the overwhelming feeling was that they would convincingly get the job done before making a swift exit and heading back up north.
With just 11 minutes left to play on an emphatic, energy-charged evening in south London, the visitors looked to have the game wrapped up. A first-half goal from Joe Allen had given Liverpool a slender lead at the break, before two quick-fire goals from Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez just after half-time looked to have put the Merseysiders out of reach.
That was before Palace defender Damien Delaney saw his deflected shot hit the back of the net to set up a nervy end to the contest. Then, substitute Dwight Gayle turned nerves into heartache for Liverpool, striking twice in the 81st and 88th minute to claw back a draw for the Eagles, in turn massively denting the visitors’ chances of claiming the title.
Manchester City would go on to win their remaining two fixtures in typically resounding style - beating Aston Villa 4-0 before seeing off West Ham 2-0 at the Etihad on the season’s final day. Liverpool finished the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Anfield, but their previous draw against Palace meant that they’d ultimately fall two points short of their Mancunian neighbours.
In the end, thanks to City’s final two victories, Liverpool would have missed out on the title due to their inferior goal difference even if they had beaten Palace. However, at the time, Suarez & Co. were left downtrodden thanks to a monumental collapse on a night now famously dubbed ‘Crystanbul’, for obvious reasons. And who knows, if they were to win at Selhurst Park that fateful evening, would it have affected City in the games that ensued?
It is a game that fans of the club - and of the Premier League in general - will never forget, and one which it’s difficult to envisage ever being repeated by this current crop of Liverpool stars, as they still await that elusive PL title.