Controversial penalty gives Liverpool win over Crystal Palace
LONDON (AP) — Christian Benteke won and converted a coolly taken penalty deep into injury time to earn 10-man Liverpool a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday, boosting his team's faint hopes of finishing in the Premier League's European places.
On as a late substitute, Benteke fell to the ground under the slightest of touches from Palace defender Damien Delaney, who pulled out of a tackle in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The referee awarded a penalty on the advice of his assistant and Benteke took the kick himself, halting midway through his run-up before slotting it home into the corner.
Palace, without a win since Dec. 19, led through Joe Ledley in the 48th minute and appeared to be in control after James Milner's sending-off for a second yellow card in the 62nd.
Liverpool looked more dangerous when down to 10 men and equalized when Roberto Firmino pounced on a mis-hit clearance from Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, drove forward and slotted a finish past McCarthy in the 72nd.
Liverpool's best chance of winning the game appeared to have passed when Alberto Moreno struck the post with a fierce, long-range shot but there was still time for the late drama involving Benteke, who was thrown on by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp ahead of fellow striker Daniel Sturridge.
After three straight wins for the first time in 12 months, Liverpool is six points off the Champions League qualification positions with 10 games left.
"I can't believe how it feels, really good," Klopp said. "A big moment for us."
On Benteke's impact, Klopp said: "He made the move and forced the situation. It was a clear penalty and then he was pretty cool with the penalty."