Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew reserved praise for Jason Puncheon and Marouane Chamakh after they played starring roles in the 3-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.
The hosts took a 26th-minute lead as Adam Lallana capitalised on an error from Martin Kelly, with Steven Gerrard appearing on course for the winning farewell to his home ground that he craved.
But Palace tore up the script as Puncheon netted a fine free-kick before half-time and substitutes Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray added goals during the second period.
“We knew what the narrative was today and the agenda, we talked about that,” said Pardew, who was pleased to see his players build on impressive displays in defeat against Manchester United and Chelsea in their previous two outings.
“I thought it was just important that we carried the level of performance we had against Chelsea and Man United,” he said
“The only difference today was that we probably had a bit more control of the ball with Chamakh coming into the team – we’ve missed him.
“Puncheon was on terrific form and those two players did give us a level of control.
“I thought in the first 15 minutes we really were in ‘Steven Gerrard World’ – we were giving the ball away and it was wave after wave.
“Almost after the mistake we made [for the opening goal] we improved considerably.
“I thought we had real good focus for this game considering the emotion of the day for Steven and Liverpool.”
There were emotionally charged tributes for Gerrard from the Anfield faithful before and after the match and Pardew felt privileged to have been involved in the occasion.
“It was an honour to be here today,” he said. “The start of the game was special and the end was even more special. It was a lovely moment.
“It’s very difficult for me to put into words what he’s done for Liverpool so I can’t talk about that.
“I can only speak as a fan of football and a lover of football for what he’s done for England. He’s carried the nation at times.
“We should all be honoured as Englishmen to have someone who’s conducted himself with such honour in this game.”
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