Liverpool were unable to give Steven Gerrard to perfect Anfield send-off, as they lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace in his final game on Merseyside.
The game began with a moment that will live long in the memory of every Liverpool fan, as Steven Gerrard – accompanied by his three daughters – was welcomed onto the pitch with both sides performing a guard of the honour. Anfield rose to its feet for one of its favourite sons one final time.
The first incident of note did not come on the hallowed turf, but rather, once again, in the sky. In our last game against Queens Park Rangers, a plane carried a banner supporting the sacking of Brendan Rodgers. However, this time, a plane carried a banner supporting the boss.
But sides started lively, but it was Liverpool that opened the scoring midway through the first-half. A couple of Palace corners came to nothing, and in fact, saw the pressure being put back on the Eagles’ defence. A terrible pass across their defence inadvertently played in Adam Lallana, who still had plenty of work to.
He ran, and resisted the pressure of the Palace defence, who were trying desperately to atone for their mistake, before tucking the ball into the top corner, with excellent composure. The first face there to congratulate him when he turned round was Gerrard. It seemed like the fairytale send-off may well happen.
However, the away side hadn’t read the script, and responded just before the break. Simon Mignolet was wrong-footed by a Jason Puncheon free-kick, and could only watch as the ball curled into the bottom corner.
And they completed the turnaround 15 minutes into the second half. Wilfried Zaha, who had only been on the pitch for less than a minute, was able to stick the ball into the empty net.
Following the goal, the urgency appeared to be cranked up, and we spent much of the remaining half-hour inside the Palace half. Every time the ball fell to Gerrard in a position from which he could score – which has been almost anywhere down the years – there was a gasp of expectation. However, each time, he shot marginally wide, or was kept out by Wayne Hennessey.
A miserable afternoon, score-wise, was complete when Palace were wrongly awarded a penalty in the late stages of the game. Lucas was penalised for a foul, but replays clearly showed that the foul happened outside the box. And, while Mignolet made a great save, he was unable to stop Glenn Murray converting the rebound.
The result may not have been ideal, but today’s scoreline was not the reason that getting a ticket at Anfield was one of the most hottest tickets in town. Paying tribute to a man that has given everything to the cause, whether we were on the verge of a defeat, you could always rely on Steven Gerrard to give everything until the final whistle blew.
Now the final whistle has blown for the last time at Anfield, thank you Steven Gerrard.