Stephen Gerrard probably hoped for a fairy tale ending similar to The Princess Bride, but he got 90 minutes of Frankenstein instead.
It was a day with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows to cap the incredible career of Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard at Anfield – but ultimately the lows prevailed as Crystal Palace won the match 3-1 thanks to a late game-sealing goal from Glen Murray.
With a very slim lead in the No. 5 position – and out of range of the Champions League – Liverpool will need to either beat Stoke City next week or hope Southampton and Tottenham don’t pick up any more points. As for Crystal Palace, it was a good win that brought the club firmly into a top 10 finish for the 2014-15 season.
But the match was really all about Steven Gerrard and the Liverpool crowd’s desire to honor their legendary midfielder. As the Liverpool legend made his way out to the Anfield turf one last time wearing the Reds kit, the ovation he and his three daughters received from the crowd was overwhelming:
But then, as Gerrard had for over 300 matches, it was time to get down to business.
And it looked like business as usual for the Liverpool scoreboard as Adam Lallana put the Reds on the board at 26′ with a perfect strike to the top left to take a 1-0 lead – and the first man he hugged in celebration was, of course, Steven Gerrard.
Unfortunately for Gerrard and company, the celebrations would be short lived as Jason Puncheon punched in a goal in the last few minutes of the first half (43′) to knot it all up 1-1 after a free kick.
In the second half, Gerrard had a chance to be the hero he had been in the eyes of Liverpool fans for the better part of two decades on a close corner shot, but sadly it was saved by Crystal Palace goalie Wayne Hennessey
The final 30 minutes were much less kind to Liverpool fans, as a terrible whiff led to a perfectly placed goal by Wilfried Zaha to give Crystal Palace a 2-1 lead.
Gerrard was given yet another chance to be the hero – and fell short again – as a free kick he was given sailed over the crossbar.
And then the wheels fell off for the Reds as a poorly times offsides penalty let Crystal Palace deep into Liverpool’s territory.
And then of course, Glen Murray sealed the Crystal Palace win and Steven Gerrard’s heartbreak on a penalty kick after Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva committed the penalty.
One last try by Gerrard wasn’t enough as Crystal Palace held on to the win.
And with that heartbreak came the end of Gerrard’s final appearance at Anfield.