The Reds threw away a three-goal lead at Selhurst Park yesterday to virtually end their hopes of piping Manchester City to the Premier League title. Brendan Rodgers admits his players were “devastated” after Monday’s 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace but backs Liverpool to recover from their shocking capitulation.
Liverpool, who was aiming to put a significant dent in Manchester City’s superior goal difference, held a 3-0 lead heading into the final 12 minutes at Selhurst Park on Monday evening. However, a Damien Delaney strike and a Dwight Gayle double sealed a stunning comeback to virtually end Liverpool’s hopes of winning their first league title since 1990.
“It was hugely disappointing,” Rodgers told reporters. “For 78 minutes, we were outstanding and did everything that we would want to do. We looked solid defensively, didn’t have many scares, controlled the ball, ended up getting three goals and looked like we could get one or two more.
“But I think we got carried away; thought we could maybe get one or two more and lost the defensive structure to our game. To concede the three goals at the end was hugely disappointing, having worked so hard to get 3-0 up.
“Tonight was about winning the game, so when we stabilised that at half-time and got the structure back into our game, we came out in the second half and got two quick goals – which put us in total control with half an hour to go.
“We created other chances and looked like we could score, but we just didn’t manage the game then. 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.
“It’s something that we’ll improve on for next season; last season we needed to get better and we’ve got better this year.”
Liverpool have conceded 49 goals in the Premier League this season – the most out of any team in the top five – and Rodgers concedes that his side’s defensive fragility needs to be addressed.
“It feels like a loss when you’re 3-0 up and concede goals like that. As you can imagine, [the dressing room] is very quiet and the players are devastated really because, for 78 minutes, we were outstanding; some of our football and, importantly, our defending, was good,” said the Liverpool manager.
“But in those last 12 minutes, we just didn’t defend with any sort of cohesion and ended up conceding really poor goals.
“The first goal, they played it short – the guy has got a shot in far too easy, it takes a deflection but we should still do better.
“The second goal comes from a corner; we break away and play a square pass on the edge of the box. That’s just decision-making. All of a sudden they skip away, they have quick players – Gayle and Yannick Bolasie break forward, young Thomas Ince is on.
“They got the second goal and for the third, they have momentum then. We were about to make a change and put another defender on and they got the third. It was that crazy spell that we will need to be better in for the future.
“It’s an area that we know we need to be better at. We’ve improved a lot in many aspects of our game and that will be an area I’m sure we’ll look at – and nobody more so than myself.” (goal.com)