Football Features

Where are they now? The Liverpool and Palace sides from Crystanbul

By Squawka News

Where are they now? The Liverpool and Palace sides from Crystanbul

Published: 13:00, 5 December 2021

It was all going so well for Liverpool.

Five points clear atop the Premier League with three games to play, the Reds looked certain to secure the trophy that has eluded them for so long.

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On a run of 11 straight victories, Brendan Rodgers‘ Liverpool were confident heading into their final three games against Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle that they would be able to continue their run and see the season out in style.

However, following that slip from Steven Gerrard to put Demba Ba through on goal to cost Liverpool their grip on first place, the Reds‘ needed victory at Selhurst Park to ensure they stayed on track for their first league title in nearly 25 years.

Leading the Eagles by three goals with fifteen minutes to play, confidence was restored on Merseyside, but three late strikes from Damien Delaney and Dwight Gayle (two) ensured Liverpool were on the wrong side of one of the greatest ‘bottle-job’ episodes in Premier League history — dubbed ‘Crystanbul’ in mockery of the Merseysiders’ very own three-goal comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul.

Here’s what happened to the players involved on that famous Monday night in ‘Crystanbul’.

Crystal Palace

Goalkeeper – Julian Speroni

Age: 42

Current Club: Retired

The veteran goalkeeper played another season as Palace’s number one before shuffling down the pecking order to accommodate Wayne Hennessey. He has since called time on his playing career, bringing the curtain down in 2019 to end 15 years in south London.

Right-back – Adrian Mariappa

Age: 35

Current Club: Macarthur FC

Mariappa played 27 times in the 2013/14 season, but became a peripheral figure before moving back to former club Watford in the summer of 2016. He now turns out for Macarthur FC in Australia.

Centre-back – Damien Delaney

Age: 40

Current Club: Retired

Delaney scored his first ever Premier League goal to spark Palace’s miraculous comeback that day and went on to become a stalwart for the Eagles, making 193 appearances in his Selhurst Park career.

At the end of the 2017/18 season, Delaney went back to where it all started and joined Cork City on a free transfer… much to the delight of the AS Roma English Twitter account.

In 2019 he joined fellow Irish club Waterford but announced his retirement shortly after.

Centre-back – Scott Dann

Age: 34

Current Club: Reading

Scott Dann, like Delaney, enjoyed a long and eventful Crystal Palace career as the pair formed a consistent and reliable defensive partnership.

The centre-back has, however, been plagued by injury problems since December 2017 after rupturing his cruciate ligament and now turns out for Reading.

Left-back – Joel Ward

Age: 32

Current Club: Crystal Palace

The former Portsmouth defender established himself as a regular player for Palace, providing solid cover across the defensive line and midfield.

After featuring 30+ times for four consecutive seasons, injury cut his 2017/18 campaign in half as Ward made 19 league appearances, and those problems carried over into 2018/19, but he has since re-established himself as a regular, now under Patrick Vieira.

Right-midfield – Yannick Bolasie

Age: 32

Current Club: Caykur Rizespor

The Congolese winger spent two more seasons terrorising defences for Palace before earning a £25m move to Everton. His electric form stopped there, however, as a damaged cruciate ligament kept him out of action until the end of 2017.

Following his return Bolasie was unable to supplant those ahead of him in the pecking order at Goodison Park and went on to enjoy loan spells away from the club, including with Aston Villa, Anderlecht, Sporting Lisbon and Middlesbrough, before signing permanently for Caykur Rizespor.

Centre-midfield – Kagisho Dikgacoi

Age: 37

Current Club: Witbank Spurs manager

Bar a substitute appearance in Palace’s final league game of the season, Dikgacoi’s efforts against Liverpool would prove to be his last outing in red and blue as he left for Cardiff in the summer.

After failing to impress in the Welsh capital, the South African returned to his home country to play for Lamontville Golden Arrows but stayed there only one season, and he has since hung up his boots to move into management and is currently at the helm of Witbank Spurs in his homeland.

Centre-midfield – Mile Jedinak

Age: 37

Current Club: Retired

The Australian captained Palace in their famous comeback, but his first-team opportunities dwindled and he left south London at the end of the 2015/16 season to join Aston Villa – with whom he helped reach the Premier League.

Centre-midfield – Joe Ledley

Age: 34

Current Club: Retired

Another member of the Crystal Palace spine that masterminded the three-goal comeback and remained at Selhurst Park, Ledley enjoyed consistent game time there until leaving for Championship outfit Derby in 2017 upon being released by the Eagles.

He worked with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard last season with the Rams, but like the former England international, he has since left Pride Park and spent time with Charlton, Newcastle Jets in Australia and Newport County before bowing out last month.

Left-midfield – Jason Puncheon

Age: 35

Current Club: Pafos

The local south London born winger continued to flourish as his side established themselves in the Premier League. Puncheon was key to Sam Allardyce’s Palace revolution, creating 56 chances in that 2016/17 season – more than any of his teammates.

He was made captain at the start of 2017/18, by former boss Frank de Boer, but suffered a serious injury in December which ended his season and he has since joined Cypriot First Division club Pafos.

Striker – Marouane Chamakh

Age: 37

Current Club: Retired

A serial underachiever, the Moroccan scored just 13 goals in his 74 Premier League appearances spread over four years prior to Crystanbul. Chamakh continued his disappointing form in his two following seasons in south London, notching just twice more in 28 games before dropping down a division to join Cardiff in the Championship.

Even this proved too much for the miss-firing forward, however, who was released in December 2016 after scoring just a couple of goals and in May 2019 the ex-Arsenal marksman announced his retirement.

Substitute – Tom Ince (85′)

Age: 29

Current Club: Stoke

What ever happened to Tom Ince? Well, since the loan spell at Crystal Palace, the young winger has played for Nottingham Forest and Derby, where he moved permanently in 2015.

He was later signed by Huddersfield after they gained promotion in 2017, scoring once in the Premier League before returning to the Championship with Stoke.

Substitute – Glenn Murray (71′)

Age: 38

Current Club: Retired

Murray has led somewhat of a nomadic existence since chesting a ball into Gayle’s path at Selhurst Park. Following disappointing spells at Reading and Bournemouth, he helped Brighton to earn promotion to the Premier League.

Murray was the club’s top Premier League scorer in 2017/18 with 12 goals and 2018/19 with 13 goals. He went on to play for Watford and Nottingham Forest before retiring in the summer.

Substitute – Dwight Gayle (65′)

Age: 32

Current Club: Newcastle United

The image of Gayle wheeling away performing his familiar aeroplane celebration will stick in the minds of Palace fans – and Liverpool supporters – for some time.

Despite his two goals to complete his side’s comeback against Liverpool, the poacher was frozen out in south London and moved to Newcastle, where he scored 22 goals to lead the Toon’s charge for an immediate return to the top flight in 2017.

Like most of Newcastle’s front line, however, Gayle struggled for form and was swapped for Salomon Rondon in a season-long loan agreement with West Brom ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. He scored 24 goals for the Baggies but has since returned to Tyneside where he continues to play a peripheral role.

Liverpool

Goalkeeper – Simon Mignolet

Age: 33

Current Club: Club Brugge

After starting the 2017/18 campaign as Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper, Mignolet lost his place in the Reds’ team to Loris Karius.

The German didn’t last long though, and he has since been succeeded by Alisson Becker, while Mignolet returned to Belgium, signing for Club Brugge.

Right-back – Glen Johnson

Age: 37

Current Club: Retired

The England defender spent six years on Merseyside, but joined Stoke in 2015, where he criminally decided to wear the number eight shirt at right-back.

He was released by the Potters after making just 10 appearances across all competitions in 2017/18 and he officially announced his retirement in 2019.

Centre-back – Martin Skrtel

Age: 36

Current Club: Spartak Trnava

The Slovak made more than 300 appearances in all competitions for the Reds but three seasons after Crystanbul he left for Fenerbahce in Turkey in search of first-team football. After regular playing time in Istanbul he joined Champions League debutants Atalanta in 2019 but left after making zero appearances and soon returned to Turkey to sign for Istanbul Basaksehir. He has since joined Spartak Trnava in Slovakia.

Centre-back – Mamadou Sakho

Age: 31

Current Club: Montpellier

The Frenchman was in and out of the side in the 2013/14 season and every campaign right up until his final one at the club, when he was eventually loaned out to the team that caused his blushes in that comeback, Crystal Palace.

Sakho found a new lease of life under Sam Allardyce and signed for the Eagles permanently in 2017. Unfortunately injury problems curtailed his progress in the capital and he joined Montpellier on a free in the summer after his contract expired in south London.

Left-back – Jon Flanagan

Age: 28

Current Club: HB Koge

The academy graduate enjoyed a breakthrough campaign towards the end of the 2013/14 season, but struggled with injuries in the following years.

Having regained fitness he was sent on loan to Bolton for the second half of the 2017/18 season but failed to make an impact, making just nine league appearances.

After months in the wilderness at Liverpool, Flanagan was eventually signed by Rangers in June 2018, but he has since taken his talents overseas, playing for Charleroi in Belgium and now Danish outfit HB Koge.

Centre-midfield – Steven Gerrard

Age: 41

Current Club: Aston Villa manager

It was all supposed to be so different for Steven Gerrard. The literal embodiment of Liverpool’s great slip-up, Gerrard’s Premier League dream died and after another season of fading influence, he joined MLS side LA Galaxy.

Gerrard would return to Merseyside, however, coaching the Reds’ Under-18 side. The Liverpool legend was then appointed Rangers manager at the start of the 2018/19 season, and he went on to achieve an ‘Invincible’ season as he won the Scottish Premiership last term to thwart Celtic’s dominance on the division.

Gerrard has now succeeded Dean Smith at Aston Villa, returning to the Premier League after six years.

Centre-midfield – Lucas Leiva

Age: 34

Current Club: Lazio

The Brazilian was Liverpool’s longest-serving player, having been at the club since 2007, until leaving for Lazio in 2017.

Being held in such high esteem by the Reds faithful, Liverpool fans ensured he was named Lazio’s Player of the Season for the 2017/18 campaign after hijacking a poll run by the club’s Twitter account.

He earned that accolade again the following season and continues to be inspirational for the club, now under Maurizio Sarri.

Centre-midfield – Joe Allen

Age: 31

Current Club: Stoke City

The ‘Welsh Pirlo’ has been freed from his undervalued role at Liverpool. At Stoke he was the fulcrum of Mark Hughes’ side and enjoyed wonderful form in the  2016/17 season.

He remains with the Potters, though struggled in 2017/18, along with the entire team, which led to eventual relegation to the Championship, where they still sit.

Attacking-midfield – Raheem Sterling

Age: 26

Current Club: Manchester City

The England international spent another season with Liverpool before earning a big-money move to City, where he has excelled under Pep Guardiola as part of a front three.

His performances and goalscoring exploits have helped the Manchester club reach stratospheric heights, including an unprecedented domestic treble in 2018/19, and he continues to play a talismanic role for his revered Catalonian coach.

Striker – Luis Suarez

Age: 34

Current Club: Atletico Madrid

Suarez didn’t last much longer at Liverpool after this title failure. After scoring 69 goals in 110 appearances, giants Barcelona came calling and the Uruguayan established himself as one of Europe’s most reliable goalscorers, joining Neymar and Lionel Messi in what was one of the most deadly front threes in football history. However, all three have since left, with Suarez joining Atletico Madrid last season, and Messi moving to PSG in the summer.

Striker – Daniel Sturridge

Age: 32

Current Club: Perth Glory

Sturridge was never quiet able to replicate his 2013/14 form following the departure of clinical strike-partner Suarez. Of course, injury complications haven’t helped, but following the establishment of Jurgen Klopp’s formidable attacking trident, including Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, he left for Trabzonspor in 2019 and now plays for Perth Glory.

Substitute – Philippe Coutinho (78′)

Age: 29

Current Club: Barcelona

A substitute no more, Coutinho did not have to wait much longer to establish himself as one of Liverpool’s most dangerous players and earned a £145m move to Barcelona in January 2018.

The Brazilian magician was unable to reproduce his Anfield form in Spain and left for Bayern on a temporary basis in 2019/20. He is back at Barca now, but still yet to rediscover his Anfield form.

Substitute – Victor Moses (86′)

Age: 30

Current Club: Spartak Moscow

Moses was on loan at Liverpool for the 2013/14 season and after further spells with Stoke and West Ham he returned to his parent club Chelsea where he flourished as a right wing-back, winning the league in 2016/17.

Following Antonio Conte’s departure from Stamford Bridge, Moses fell out of favour and was sent packing on loan to Fenerbahce, though he reunited with the animated Italian and joined his Inter Milan revolution in January of 2020. He is now a permanent fixture at Spartak Moscow.

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