Liverpool Returns to Crystal Palace


I had ever seen anything like it. I have watched hundreds, possibly thousands of soccer matches in my lifetime, but nothing I had seen could compare to this match. I don’t know if I will ever see anything like it again.

When the match was over, one team was paralyzed, unable to move, completely shocked at what had just happened. Tears filled the eyes of several players as their life long dreams had been taken away from them in a matter of 10 minutes.

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Everyone was shocked. The TV commentators had nothing to say. The cameras focused on the players while no one said anything for around five minutes. Nothing but silence as we all observed grown men with their shirts pulled over their faces to hide the tears.

It was heartbreak at a level I had never before witnessed. Sure teams lose and their championship hopes are tarnished, but this was different because of the way it all happened.

If you don’t know yet what match I am talking about, I am referring to the 3-3 draw between Liverpool and Crystal Palace on May 5, 2014.

Liverpool has never won a Premier League title. Before the creation of the EPL in 1992, Liverpool had won more top division titles (18) than any other team. But in the 22 seasons since the richest football league was created, the Reds have yet to ascend to the top.

Liverpool was on course to finally break through last season. With three matches remaining, Liverpool needed just seven points to lift the trophy.

First there was the slip, then there was the collapse and finally it was all over.

Technically there was still a chance going into the final day of the season that Liverpool could be crowned, but we saw it in their faces after the penultimate match, it was all over.

Liverpool, still with championship aspirations, traveled down to London to face Crystal Palace. It was another brilliant Liverpool performance where they dominated possession and took 26 shots. The Reds would convert three of those shots and after 55 minutes, they took a 3-0 lead. 

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  • It looked like they would hold on to that lead when in the 79th minute, Palace got one back. But the score was still only 3-1, no need for Liverpool to panic; they had a two goal lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

    But in the 81st minute, Palace struck again, it was now 3-2. Liverpool fans were starting to get squeamish and uncomfortable, but they still had all three points in their grasp.

    Until finally it happened, in the 88th minute, the 3-0 lead Liverpool had just nine minutes earlier had evaporated. Dwight Gale scored his second goal for Crystal Palace and the match was tied.

    Liverpool had a couple of chances to steal back all three points during stoppage time, but their hopes for salvaging the disaster completely vanished when the final whistle blew.

    As a non-partial observer, there was no way I could feel anything but sorrow for the players and their supporters. As a fan, I know what it is like to watch my team come so close and eventually lose. But I can’t pretend to imagine what the Liverpool players must have been feeling.

    Photo Courtesy of Twitter @NBCSportsSoccer

    Their emotions were on display for everyone to see. Steven Gerrard, a man whose career goal has been to bring an EPL title to his boyhood club, had red, glazed eyes as his emotions began to surface.

    Luis Suarez was so overcome with emotions he struggled to stand on his own two feet. He covered his face so the world could not witness the tears stream from his eyes.

    It was a match Liverpool players and fans will never forget and a feeling they still carry with them to this day.

    For Liverpool supporters, Sunday will be similar to returning to the exact location where your girlfriend left you. Expect instead of her just breaking up with you, she punched you in the gut, kicked you where it counts and poked you in the eyes. Maybe even all that can’t begin to explain the pain Liverpool feels.

    Sunday Liverpool returns to Crystal Palace where it all went down. Even a 10-0 win would do nothing to ease the ache. The memories of that Monday night at Selhurst Park won’t be erased anytime soon, possibly not until the Reds finally claim a Premier League championship.

    (Sorry this is the best video on YouTube I can find, I have no idea what language that is, so just pay attention to the goals and the emotions at the end.)