Christian Benteke scored a double for Crystal Palace as Liverpool yet again lost to a lower ranked team in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.
Philippe Coutinho's wonderful free-kick gave the home side the advantage but Benteke's brace, one a side-footed finish and the other a close range header, ensured Palace moved seven clear of 18th placed Swansea.
Palace's game plan was revealed early on, with Sam Allardyce's side looking to break fast on the counter through the pacy outlets of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend while staying tight and compact at the back, restricting Liverpool's creativity.
Christian Benteke had the chance to open the scoring on his return to Anfield but could only push his shot from the edge of the box wide of Simon Mignolet's post having beaten two Liverpool defenders.
Palace's resistance was broken midway through the first-half through Philippe Coutinho's free-kick, with the Brazilian curling an effort over the wall and past a scrambling Wayne Hennessey for his 10th Premier League goal of the season.
However, despite moments of attacking flourish, Liverpool still looked vulnerable at the back and were undone just before half-time. Cabaye snuck in behind and squared on the half-volley for Benteke, who made no mistake in firing high into the net to draw the visitors level.
Mamadou Sakho, who is under contract at Liverpool, celebrating with Christian Benteke pic.twitter.com/WdnRn9HzM7— Georgino Wijnaldum (@WijnaldumLFC) April 23, 2017
The Reds looked stunned as Benteke continued to be influential, bringing down Jason Puncheon's cross expertly before seeing his unthreatening shot saved easily by Mignolet.
Coutinho came agonisingly close to doubling both his side's lead and his goal tally for the afternoon, gliding into the box before being bogged down by Palace defenders with his shot eventually being blocked by James Tomkins.
Jurgen Klopp has been stretched for options as of late due to injuries and, just like the 1-0 at West Brom last week, Liverpool missed the creativity and flair of Adam Lallana, while the absence of Sadio Mane and his ability to get in behind and finish clinically was also prevalent.
Anxiety grew around Anfield as Liverpool's attacking threat seemed to be fairly blunt throughout the second period, but it could have been a lot worse for the top four hopefuls had Yohan Cabaye managed to keep his effort down when attempting to swivel and shoot from close range.
Regardless of Cabaye's miss Palace soon took the lead, with Benteke proving to be a major thorn in his former club's side. A corner, so often the undoing of Liverpool's defensive rearguard, was allowed to travel across the six-yard box uncontested of the Belgian striker popped up again, stooping to head Sam Allardyce's team in front.
Liverpool threw on Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alberto Moreno in a last ditch effort to grab an equaliser but no such goal came as Palace boosted their own chances of Premier League survival while putting a dent in their opponents' top four aspirations.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Wijnaldum, Lucas, Can, Firmino, Origi, Coutinho
Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Kelly, Schlupp, Cabaye, Milivojevic, Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha, Benteke