• By Julian Taylor at the London Stadium

Benteke red card leaves Hodgson with Palace dilemma ahead of Liverpool clash



Roy Hodgson rued the red card for Christian Benteke during last night’s stalemate with West Ham, which now leaves Crystal Palace without the striker against Liverpool on Saturday.


The Eagles came away from the London Stadium with a 1-1 draw, a result that keeps them a comfortable 12th in the Premier League.


Belgium international Benteke was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 70th minute, after a clash with Tomas Soucek, much to Hodgson’s general annoyance, before what is sure to be a major tussle with Jurgen Klopp’s current champions and league leaders.


It was a sour end to the evening for the Palace forward, who had earlier put the south Londoners in front with a diving header, before the Hammers levelled through a spectacular bicycle kick by Sebastien Haller. Eagles chief Hodgson will now have to re-examine his options for the Liverpool game at Selhurst Park.


"He’s been very good (Benteke) and he’s also in form in terms of his general play and also his goal scoring,” said Hodgson. “There’s no doubt he’ll be a miss and it’s a miss I not only regret, I really don’t think it was justified.


"He should not have been sent off and we should have had the chance to play them with 11 men, which I think would have caused them a lot of problems as we were playing well at the time. And we would have had a strong team at the weekend. Now we have to find an answer to how the team should look."


Overall, it was a decent point in a keenly-contested London derby for Palace, in the wake of a hard-fought draw against high-flying Tottenham last weekend. Consequently, Hodgson is quietly optimistic ahead of the Eagles’ festive fixture schedule which sees them play both Aston Villa and Leicester City as well as Liverpool.


"The way we’re trying to play and the way we’re playing is the way we’re always trying to play," he added. "I do think, at the moment, in the last three games our attacking play has been particularly potent.


"We’re getting good reward for the efforts the players put in on the training field to improve their combinations and their understanding. We’re getting some joy from it. Maybe in the past without the joy, people didn’t see the combinations."