Liverpool’s title hopes are now very slim after a shock 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday. Liverpool need City to lose one of their two matches in order to regain control of their destiny.
Liverpool dominated the game and had a majority of possession and went up 3-0 after 55 minutes at Selhurst Park. Game over, right? Wrong.
Liverpool at this point looked in cruise control and Crystal Palace looked like they were just trying to avoid being embarrassed in their final home match of the campaign. However, Liverpool went for more and more goals to try and reduce the goal difference between them and City just in case both teams finished level on points at season’s end. But Liverpool not only did not get more goals but they conceded three and even lost the three points needed to put pressure on City come Wednesday.
Liverpool conceded a deflected goal in the 79th minute from almost nothing and it looked to be just a consolation. Liverpool continued to go for more goals and got countered on a corner and conceded a second. At this point, Rodgers should have gotten on a couple more defenders and tried to see the game out. But what did he do? He sent on Victor Moses, an attacking player to replace Daniel Sturridge.
This substitution for me was questionable at the time. Liverpool had only made one change up to this point and it was Coutinho for Sterling. Liverpool had Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Aly Cissoko all on the bench as defensive options but he decided to bring on an attacking player.
Liverpool then conceded a third goal and went from trying to cut the goal differential between them and City to try to regain the three points and restore the lead they had for so much of the game. Rodgers has done a fantastic job this season for Liverpool but deserves a ton of blame these last two matches.
He tried to go all out attack against a Chelsea side that parked the bus and it failed. Liverpool just needed a draw there to maintain their control for the title but ended up with nothing. And now with a three goal lead after 78 minutes, all he needed to do was hold the ball for the remaining time and win the game but failed. I can understand them going for goals when they were comfortably up 3-0 but after the first goal went in for Palace, Rodgers should have sealed up the defense and tried to just possess the ball.
I think Rodgers got it wrong once again, this time with a poor substitution. Great coaches are able to make the right changes at the right time, and although he has gotten it right a lot this season, this time he completely got it wrong and it cost them three points and surely the title.
Rodgers was asked before the match if he would take a 1-0 victory and he said yes. Obviously, that was a lie and he got greedy for goals. Why would he go attack, attack, attack, and leave his defense so vulnerable, when they have struggled to keep clean sheets and defend all year long?
Teams that struggle to defend usually do not go on to win the title and that pattern seems likely to continue as their title hopes are nearly all but gone.