Luis Suarez scored on his first Anfield
appearance since April as he and strike
partner Daniel Sturridge helped Liverpool
beat Crystal Palace.
The Uruguayan, who served a 10-match ban
for biting, scored a superb opener, steering
in while lying on the floor.
Sturridge then found the bottom corner
after a twisting run before Steven Gerrard
scored from the penalty spot.
Dwight Gayle netted a late header for Palace
but Liverpool’s victory lifted them to the
Premier League summit.
With previous leaders Arsenal playing West
Brom on Sunday, the Reds are a point clear
at the top having played a game more.
A blistering first-half showing saw Suarez
and Sturridge continue fine goalscoring
runs, while also showing they are growing
into a formidable partnership.
Suarez has scored 19 goals in his last 22
Liverpool games, while Sturridge has 19 in
25 games since joining the club in January.
The South American’s performance, in
particular, would have pleased former player
and manager Kenny Dalglish, who signed
Suarez in 2011 and joined the club’s board
as a non-executive director this week.
Defeat for Ian Holloway’s Palace side was
their fourth in succession, and leaves them
two points ahead of bottom side
And given the potency of Liverpool’s
forwards, it was perhaps surprising
Holloway picked an adventurous 4-3-3
formation in trying to repeat a famous
Anfield win while in charge of Blackpool
three years ago.
Suarez, playing at Anfield for the first time
since biting Chelsea defender Branislav
Ivanovic, was the leading man, scoring the
opener on 14 minutes.
After good work from our own Nigerian Victor Moses, he
passed to the overlapping Jose Enrique and
then collected his return ball to fire in from
12 yards despite falling over.
It showed poise, balance and strength, and
within three minutes Palace were further
behind when Enrique’s long pass was
headed onto Sturridge, who turned Damien
Delaney before netting.
Palace looked stunned but began to recover
and Jimmy Kebe twice went close after a
His tame goalbound shot was cleared by
Kolo Toure before Simon Mignolet saved
superbly after the Malian touched Cameron
Jerome’s shot. Jason Puncheon then blazed
Home defender Mamadou Sakho then
almost sliced into his own net following
Jerome’s cross as the visitors regained their
But Holloway’s side went further behind
when Dean Moxey tugged at Raheem
Sterling’s arm and, although contact was on
the edge of the penalty area, referee
Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot after
advice from his assistant.
Gerrard sent Julian Speroni the wrong way
to score for the 15th consecutive league
season, a club record.
Moses hit the bar from two yards out before
the break but Liverpool’s performance
dipped after the interval.
Holloway tightened things up by bringing
on another midfielder, Jose Campana, while
Gayle replaced Jerome up front.
Palace improved as a result and when Gayle
headed in Campana’s free-kick with 14
minutes remaining, it looked like Liverpool
It proved fleeting, however, and Sturridge
almost grabbed a second when he hit the
post late on.
SHOTS ON TARGET