Brendan Rodgers concedes title race over
The Liverpool manager expects Man City to go on and claim the Premier League after his side’s 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace
Palace came back to draw 3-3 at Selhurst Park and substitute Dwight Gayle’s brace left Rodgers admitting defeat in the race for top spot.
Liverpool are a point ahead of rivals Manchester City but have played a game more, and victories over Aston Villa and West Ham would guarantee the title for City.
Asked if he felt the title was now gone, Rodgers admitted: “Yes. We needed to win tonight. It’s a massive advantage for Manchester City. I think Manchester CIty will go on and win the two games and they’ll be champions.
“It’s been an outstanding season for us, to get to 81 points, but we’re disappointed right now. The dressing room’s very quiet, as you’d imagine.”
And Rodgers said: “For 75 minutes it was an outstanding performance, we got the goals. The important thing was to win the game and at least put some sort of pressure on Manchester City.
“We’re very disappointed with how we conceded the three goals, it was real poor defending. We can do better on the first one, they played the short free-kick and we’ve got to close the ball down quicker on the edge of the area.
“The second comes from our corner, they broke away well. It’s just decision-making. We got three goals against a team that was very good defensively and it was a killer blow to only get one point.
“Maybe we just got carried away, thinking we could get more than three goals. The most important thing was to win the game.”
Two minutes after Delaney’s goal, Dwight Gayle added a second and the forward then struck the equaliser with two minutes to go.
It was another performance to strengthen Tony Pulis’ claims to be manager of the year, and the Eagles boss praised the character of his players.
“When you’re 3-0 down 10 minutes in you’re chasing it but they went to keep the ball a lot more than really go for us and we got the impetus from the substitutions,” he said.
“Sometimes they work for you, sometimes they don’t and thank God it worked for us. The last 20 minutes were fantastic and just show the character of the players. Once we got the crowd going it was wonderful.”
When Liverpool were three up and seemingly cruising most eyes were on the goal difference column, where the Reds were looking to chase down Manchester City with the title race so close.
But Pulis does not believe that played a role in Liverpool’s collapse. “I think that’s the way they’ve played all year,” he said. “They’ve played very open all years and in lots of games they’ve conceded three or four. That’s the way Liverpool play.”
Despite the wonders Pulis has worked since replacing Ian Holloway, and despite his two-year contract, there has been speculation regarding the Welshman’s future at Selhurst Park.
While saying he expected to be at the club next season, Pulis confirmed he is planning to hold talks with chairman Steve Parish about the long-term plans of the club.
“We’re having a chat tomorrow or Thursday when me and Steve will get out of London and have a night together to sit down and talk,” he said.
“This is the smashing club with fantastic support and potential but it’s a way behind what it should be.
“It was the same situation when I was at Stoke. I had a magnificent chairman there in Peter Coates who backed me and allowed me to build a club over seven or eight years and that’s what you want. You want to do your job, you get paid to do your job and that’s what I want to do.”