Rodgers admits title is heading to City

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Luis Suarez was distraught after Liverpool blew a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace. Pic © David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Luis Suarez was distraught after Liverpool blew a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace. Pic © David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

An incredible Crystal Palace comeback left Liverpool’s title challenge hanging by a thread, after the hosts bagged three late goals to salvage a hugely significant 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park.

Luis Suarez ended the night in tears of despair despite earlier sending the visitors 3-0 up, and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers conceded after the match that his side’s Premier League dream is now destined to end in disappointment.

He told Sky Sports: “There’s no doubt. I think Manchester City will go on and win it now. We needed to win tonight to have any sort of chance to keep the pressure on going into the last game but we didn’t do that and it’s bitterly disappointing.”

Liverpool went into the clash level on 80 points with Manchester City, with two games left to play for each side. The Reds’ Merseyside rivals Everton were unable to do their neighbours a giant favour on Saturday evening, going down in a 3-2 defeat against Manuel Pelligrini’s men.

Top of the table

1) Liverpool  P 37; Pts 81; GD +50
2) Man City   P 36; Pts 80: GD +59
3) Chelsea    P 37; Pts 79; GD +43

Remaining fixtures:
May 7: Man City v Aston Villa
May 11: Cardiff v Chelsea
May 11: Liverpool v Newcastle
May 11: Man City v West Ham

That victory had maintained City’s advantage in the title race, as the Manchester outfit have a much superior goal difference to Liverpool’s, meaning that the Reds would have required a nine-goal swing in their favour should the 2012 champions win their final two fixtures.

Joe Allen’s first goal for the club, followed by strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Suarez saw them race into a three-goal lead but the chase for more ultimately cost them victory.

Allen opened his Liverpool account on his 50th attempt after he headed home from a Steven Gerrard corner after 18 minutes. Sturridge doubled the Reds’ advantage with a deflected shot from outside the area on 53 minutes, before Suarez made it three just two minutes later after a neat one-two with Raheem Sterling.

Liverpool seemed to be cruising towards a comfortable win, until a stunning strike by Damien Delaney on 79 minutes was followed almost immediately by a tidy finish from Dwight Gayle, to ensure a nervous finale for the title challengers.

Palace, rejuvenated by their two goals, piled the pressure on Liverpool’s defence and they were rewarded two minutes from time when Gayle notched his second of the game to seal a remarkable three-goal fightback and send Palace – as well as Man City fans – delirious.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers © Trinity Mirror

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers © Trinity Mirror

On-loan midfielder Victor Moses had the chance to win the game in the dying seconds, but the Nigerian winger miskicked the ball when it dropped to him in the area in a scramble.

The result means that Rodgers’ side now need City to slip up in one of their remaining home games – at home to mid-table outfits Aston Villa and West Ham – to stand any chance to winning their first league title in 24 years.

Rodgers said: “It was obviously very frustrating, as you can imagine. For 75 minutes we were outstanding in the game, we scored three goals and created many chances to get one or two more, then we concede with 12 minutes to go.

“We’ve got to see the game out better than that. We can’t be the threat like we are and then defend like we defended.”

 

About Nick Seddon, JMU Journalism