Christian Benteke stars as Crystal Palace stun Liverpool at Anfield

 Christian Benteke scored twice against his former club as Crystal Palace put a huge dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes courtesy of a 2-1 win at Anfield.

The Belgian, who moved from Merseyside to south London last summer, proved too much for Liverpool’s defence to handle in the box, scoring a goal in each half to dent his old club’s Champions League qualification hopes.

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring mid-way through the first-half in majestic fashion when he curled a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards giving Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey no chance.

But after coming close to breaking the deadlock earlier in the game, former Red Benteke levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time when he stabbed home at the back post from Yohan Cabaye’s cross before celebrating with Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho on the sideline.

That goal took all momentum away from Liverpool and barring another Coutinho opportunity, the hosts struggled to create anything of any real note in the second period.

Palace turned the screw with 20 minutes to play as Cabaye volleyed over from close range, only minutes before Benteke’s stooping header won the game for Sam Allardyce’s side.

The Eagles, who have now won on their last three visits to Anfield, move up to 12th and are now seven points above the drop zone with only five games to play.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s unbeaten run of seven games is now over and while they remain third, the Reds are only three points above fifth-placed Manchester United who have two games in hand over their rivals.