• Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool, Premier League

Rodgers: It was a comic book collapse

ESPN staff
May 5, 2014
Rodgers: It's all over now

Brendan Rodgers conceded Liverpool's Premier League title hopes are over after he watched his side squander a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace on Monday.

He believes Manchester City will now be crowned champions after witnessing his side commit a comic book collapse during an 11-minute spell of woeful defending at Selhurst Park.

Damien Delaney's deflected strike and a double from Dwight Gayle cancelled out Liverpool's 3-0 advantage, which left a frustrated Rodgers bemoaning his side's attempt to force a "Roy of the Rovers-style" thrashing.

Poor management and arrogance

Rodgers claimed his team lacked maturity
© PA Photos
  • Liverpool's title race collapse at Crystal Palace may have appeared dramatic but the warning signs have been there for some time, writes Miguel Delaney.
  • The biggest problem was that the players and their manager tried to ignore them, making poor decisions in a horrible example of choking which stained a brilliant season.
  • Click here to read more

"There is no doubt. Manchester City will go on and win it. We needed to win to keep the pressure on going into the last game and we did not do that," Rodgers said. "You have to have that maturity to see it through and we did not do that.

"It was bitterly disappointing and I would expect Manchester City to go on and win their two home games. Congratulations to Crystal Palace, they produced a great fightback and punished our mistakes.

"For 78 minutes we were outstanding. We'd looked solid defensively and didn't have many scares, had control of the ball and had gone three goals up but we got carried away and lost our defensive structure.

"We thought we could play Roy of the Rovers football and make the goal difference up but tonight was about winning the game. When we had the structure and discipline to our game, we scored goals and created chances. But we didn't manage the game.

"At 3-0 we gave them a sniff and they have some good players who can punish you. You cannot come here against a very good side, be the threat that we were and then defend as we did. It is criminal really. This is something we'll improve on for next season. We've got better this season from last season and we need to get better again next year."

Luis Suarez, the newly-crown Football Writers' Player of the Year, was inconsolable at the end and had to be hauled to his feet by the captain, Steven Gerrard, who had also been in tears.

Rodgers said: "It would have been [crushing] anyway had we not won the game but to have been 3-0 up, it feels like a loss. It's very quiet in the dressing room. The players are devastated but, in the last 11 minutes, we didn't defend at all with any cohesion.

"Tonight was about dealing with the situation. We needed that calmness and control to see the game out but we didn't manage it. Our decision making in that period of pressure has to be better. That's not just tonight. It's something I've seen at times this season.

"But we can be incredibly proud of this season. We've scored 99 goals - we'd managed 47 the season before I came in and to have kept improving like we have gives me immense pride. We're actually ahead of schedule.

"We've made great strides and, while I'm here, I'm fighting to win titles. I'll be relentless in my quest for that. That's why I came. I've seen a lot this season that has given us great hope going forward. We're building something sustainable. We haven't thrown a bucket-load of money at it. We're trying to build. We'll keep working and we'll try and make more strides forward next season.

"When we reflect on it in the summer, we'll see it as an outstanding season for Liverpool Football Club. But that doesn't take away the pain now because this was a game we should have won. Now we have to learn and get better."

Liverpool remain top of the table by a point, but City will overtake their rivals should they beat Aston Villa in their game in hand at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Liverpool players were inconsolable as they left the Selhurst Park pitch © Getty Images
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