Naive Liverpool F.C.'s title challenge founders in defence

May 06 2014, 07:00 IST
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SummaryLiverpool F.C.'s quest for a first English league title since 1990 has foundered on naive football in two matches where a less gung-ho approach might have produced four points instead of one.

Liverpool F.C.'s quest for a first English league title since 1990 has foundered on naive football in two matches where a less gung-ho approach might have produced four points instead of one.

The dramatic collapse from a 3-0 lead with 11 minutes remaining to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace on Monday came eight days after Liverpool F.C. had dominated possession against Chelsea at Anfield only to run out 2-0 losers.

The squandering of those precious points means they top the Premier League table with 81 and one match to play, one ahead of Manchester City who have two games remaining.

Manager Brendan Rodgers was forced to concede the title race was effectively over and, in his view, City would now be crowned champions for the second time in three seasons.

In both games, Liverpool F.C.'s chase for goals, allied to poor defending across the back, cost them dearly. They were not isolated tactical lapses.

The stats speak for themselves. Liverpool F.C. have scored 99 goals this season but conceded 49. Teams that concede that frequently do not win titles.

Rodgers spoke after the Palace match about how his team should have "managed the game better" when they were 3-0 ahead, but he must share the blame for not changing his tactics.

Liverpool F.C.'s continued quest for goals when they could have shut up shop was not irrational but an attempt to close the goal-difference gap with City that would decide the title if the rivals ended up with the same points tally.

It started out as a plus-9 advantage for City, went down to plus-6, and then back to plus-9 as Liverpool F.C. imploded.

Former Liverpool F.C. and England defender Jamie Carragher said Rodgers should have shored up his sometimes fragile central defensive partnership once the lead was established.

"He should probably have gone with a back three because Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtl definitely need help because the record shows their partnership is not good enough and its not acceptable," he told Sky Sports.

"Liverpool F.C. are in top position for goals scored but they are in the bottom half of the table for goals conceded.

"If you are thinking about going for a title, doing it in a way that's never been done scoring lots of goals but conceding that many, history shows you it can't be done.

"You cannot concede that many goals if you want to go and win the league."

PEGGED BACK

Rodgers might indeed have brought on a defender

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