Roy Hodgson never looked like being the man to bring the league title back to Anfield. Should Liverpool become champions for the first time since 1990, however, they may owe a large debt of gratitude to their least popular manager of modern times.
Liverpool take a four-point lead into Christmas after Hodgson’s Crystal Palace served up arguably the most remarkable win of the season to date. A side with a solitary point in their previous six away games ended the only 100 per cent home league record in the country.
Manchester City were left defeated and seemingly dumbfounded. Palace, who had not even scored a league goal at the Etihad Stadium since 2005, mustered three in 18 minutes.
City delivered an unusually ragged performance to get an uncharacteristic result as, after taking 142 points from a possible 156 against the sides outside the dominant cartel of six, they suffered a first league loss to outsiders in 23 months.
Andros Townsend’s thunderbolt was the shot that reshaped the title race, Palace’s victory a reminder that even a side who claimed 100 points last season are not immune to shocks