Liverpool staying the course
In an incredible atmosphere at Anfield, the young charges of Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool kept up their relentless pursuit of Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 24 years. This was a humdinger of a match, as many of us had expected.
As has been their way since the start of the season, Liverpool set off at a ferocious pace and City struggled to cope. In the second half, however, the quality of football City played was just awesome to watch. The Anfield crowd was forced into submission as the two goals were pegged back very quickly.
The winning goal by Coutinho came as a result of an appalling attempted clearance by Kompany. That must not detract from the fabulous nature of the finish by the Brazilian.
Chelsea won at Swansea to keep pace with Liverpool. City still have two games in hand. It is all brilliantly set up as the games start coming thick and fast.
I have questioned why Mourinho had been loath to use the Senegalese striker despite complaining about the lack of goals from Eto'o and Torres. He just did not fancy Ba obviously. He just might have to start doing so in this closing stage of the league as he tries to hunt down Liverpool.
The maths is very simple for Liverpool and Chelsea - win all your games and the league title is yours. One of those games is between the two sides. Jose Mourinho must be licking his lips at that visit to Anfield in two weeks’ time. If any team is equipped to stop - even briefly - the Liverpool juggernaut, it is a team managed by Jose Mourinho.
City have to win all of their games too but their destiny is no longer in their hands. They will be praying for a draw when the top two meet.
Liverpool have the bit between their teeth. They have the energy of youth, the emotional backing and leadership of Gerrard and the impish skills of Suarez and Raheem Sterling. They do not look like folding in this run in. There is no fear.
To be honest, Gerrard looked like the only one overcome by the pressure against Man City as his rousing post-match speech in the team huddle demonstrated.
Chelsea and Mourinho have been down this route many times. They will not give the chase up. If they win at Anfield they win the title. After their win at the Etihad I had fancied them to win the title. Defeat at Palace was out of character and put them in this position.
They won't be the purists' choice for winning the title but if they garner the most points then they will be champions.
I do not think the UCL semifinals should be a hindrance for any serious team challenging for a domestic title. Only Sir Alex has managed to win the BPL title and at least get to a Champions League final in the same season, so Mourinho has the chance to show he can do it too.
I do not think there will be any more twists and turns in this race. It is Liverpool or Chelsea.
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