Following Liverpool’s collapse at Selhurst Park, Brendan Rodgers accepts Manchester City will likely be crowned champions next weekend.
Goals from Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez gave the Reds a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace before the hour mark. Such a win would have seen the Anfield club leapfrog City at the head of the table by three points, but with Manuel Pellegrini’s side having a game in hand and a better goal difference, it was crucial to press on.
However, rather than increase their lead over the Eagles, they allowed the hosts to score three goals in seven minutes to record a remarkable 3-3 draw. This point returned Liverpool to the top of the table, but with Aston Villa and West Ham United set to visit the Etihad Stadium, Rodgers accepts his title dreams are now all but over.
“Yes, I think we needed to win to keep the pressure on,” the Northern Irishman told Sky Sports. “Manchester City, they have got two home games now, two tough games, but we needed to win it. I think Manchester City will go on and win their two games and they will be champions. But for us it’s been an outstanding season up until now.”
At the start of the season the aim for the Reds was to finish in the top four, and not many pundits expected them to achieve this. So for them to still be in contention for the title heading into the weekend is credit to Rodgers and his players, yet their fans will be left with the feeling of what could have been having come so close.
The reality is next term will likely be a lot tougher for Liverpool. Not only are Chelsea and City certain to strengthen during the summer, so too are Arsenal whilst it is difficult to imagine Manchester United being as poor as they have been this season. Added to this, Rodgers will also have to factor in a UEFA Champions League campaign which, whilst welcome, will also serve as a distraction from their domestic focus.