Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the Premier League title is in Manchester City’s hands, following the side’s frustrating 3-all draw at Crystal Palace on Monday night.
The ‘Reds’ needed a win to mount pressure on the 2012 champions and rule Chelsea out of the run in but blew up a three-goal lead in the final eleven minutes of frantic football at Selhurst Park.
Joe Allen scored his first league goal to get the visitors ahead, before Daniel Sturridge and the FWA and PFA Player of the Year, Luis Suarez, tripled Rodgers’ team lead and reduced the goal gap between them and City to nine, two minutes into second-half.
The Northern Irish boss couldn’t hide his frustration at the manner with which his side’s defence collapsed and let in three equalisers, as Damien Delaney and a brace from substitute Dwight Gale saw the hosts clinch a point from their penultimate match of the season.
“At 3-0, we gave them a little sniff when they were not in the game at all. Obviously, they have got some good players that can punish you,” said Rodgers. “It feels like a loss when you’re 3-0 up and concede goals like that.
“But in those last 12 minutes, we just didn’t defend with any sort of cohesion and ended up conceding really poor goals.”
Liverpool moved top of the standings, a point ahead of City, who visits Aston Villa and then play West Ham at the Etihad Stadium in the final game of the season.
Rodgers conceded Manuel Pellegrini’s men could now go ahead and clinch the title, as only a win and a draw does the trick for their closest rival in the title run-in.
“We needed to win tonight to keep the pressure on,” he added. “Obviously, it was still in the hands of Manchester City, so us winning tonight would have given them a little bit of pressure in the Aston Villa game.
“Villa will go and make it difficult, I’m sure, like they have done against the top-four teams this season. But I think everyone will look at Manchester City’s squad and look at them as a team that can win the games and get the job done.”
Once every chance of a first league win in 24 years had gone with the winds, Rodgers was quick to reflect on his side’s giant leap this season. From finishing seventh in the previous season and fighting for the title throughout the current campaign, the manager thinks Liverpool could get better in the coming years.
Rodgers said: “That’s 99 goals we’re on this season. I came in for my first season and in the season before, the team had finished on 47 goals.
“So for us to keep improving like we have been gives me immense pride. When we’ve got time to sit down at the end of the season and reflect on it, we’ll see that this has been an outstanding season for Liverpool Football Club.
“It doesn’t take away the pain now, because we’ve drawn a game we should have won. But that will be an area we look to improve on again next year, and if we do that then we’ll continue to get better.”