By Dave Smith
REPLACE the biggest smile in soccer with the grumpiest face in football, and you’ve got this game in a nutshell.
Jurgen Klopp could not contain his delight – and relief – whilst Alan Pardew was totally perplexed by events which unfolded before his disbelieving eyes.
The defining moment was the last minute penalty award to Liverpool which divided opinion.
Sky pundit Jamie Carragher, of course, felt there was enough contact by Damian Delaney on Christian Benteke to justify a spot kick.
I doubt he would have had the same opinion had he been the defender in question back in the day!
Benteke himself wasn’t 100 per cent sure but insisted he would not have gone to ground if he hadn’t been touched. Yeah, right.
Pardew’s view was slightly different and the Palace boss was incandescent with rage as he threw his coat to the ground in disgust and disbelief.
Sky interviewer Geoff Shreeves nearly took the full force of his fury.
That’s 12 games without a win for the Eagles who have crash-landed this year and can’t buy a win for love nor money.
Not even after they had gone ahead through Joe Ledley before James Milner’s 62nd minute sending off.
Alex McCarthy had a day to forget (he apologised to fans on twitter afterwards) when he presented Firmino with an equaliser 18 minutes from time.
Benteke’s winner provided the biggest talking point of the day and poor old Pards nearly ‘lost it’ with genial Geoff when questioned about the penalty.
Looking menacingly into the Sky Sports camera, Pardew summed his feelings up with three short bursts. “It wasn’t a penalty; Benteke made a meal of it; Carragher was wrong.”
No holds barred from the Palace chief who added: “Delaney pulled out of the challenge, so it’s very harsh. If that was us, it wouldn’t have been awarded. I feel we have been robbed.”
Benteke, meanwhile, was delighted to come off the bench and make such a valuable contribution and he too told Sky viewers: “I think the player touched me; otherwise I don’t go down.
“The referee knows better than us so he has made the right decision. I am pleased to score; you have to be ready when the manager needs you and I just tried to do my best.”
Little wonder Klopp was all smiles as Liverpool chalked up their third league win in a row.
“The smile on my face says it all,” clucked Klopp. “I am really happy to win because Palace are a strong side. It was a clear penalty; 2-1; perfect day.”
Try telling that to Alan Pardew!