English Premiership

Reds boost their title hopes

2014-04-13 17:21
Philippe Coutinho (Getty Images)

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has praised an "incredible" performance as his side took a huge stride towards the Premier League title with an enthralling 3-2 home win against Manchester City on Sunday.

Liverpool's 10th straight league victory carried them to 77 points, five points ahead of Chelsea - who play Swansea in the late kickoff - and crucially seven points ahead of City who have two games in hand on the Merseyside team.

Liverpool have four games to play and if they win them all will claim their first top-flight title in 24 years.

"That was a remarkable performance," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I thought we were incredible today. I think the world watching that will see a team with so much spirit, so much quality."

Like they have done so many times this season, Liverpool started quickly and took the lead in the sixth minute with Raheem Sterling wrong-footing both Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart to fire home.

Martin Skrtel then nodded in his seventh goal of the season in the 26th minute to double their advantage.

City responded with two goals in five minutes from David Silva on 57 minutes and a Glen Johnson own goal to set up a thrilling finale.

As a fourth 2-2 draw in the last five games between the two sides looked the most likely result, Philippe Coutinho capitalised on a Kompany miskick to seal the win.

"We totally controlled the game. At halftime we were 2-0 up and it could have been more," Rodgers added.

"Congratulations to Man City because at 2-0 down we were incredible in the first half. You expect a 15-20 minute spell in which they get back into the game.

"They (Liverpool players) showed the character (we have) in this group...to come back and get composure again and score a brilliant goal and get three very valuable points."

The club paid a fitting tribute on the weekend of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died at an FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest, and Rodgers admitted his side used it as motivation.

"There's always an emotive side especially around this time. Going into the game a lot was made about would it affect the players. We live with it every day.

"The families and victims of Hillsborough are with us every day. It was an inspiration for us rather than something that was going to hold us back."

The affects of the occasion and a draining game played at breakneck speed were plain to see. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had tears in his eyes at the final whistle and was visibly emotional in his post-match interview.

"I'm emotional but we need to keep calm," he said.

"We still have four big games to come but that meant so much, especially when they got back into the game. You fear the worst at that point.

"That was the longest 90 minutes I have probably played in. It felt like the clock was going backwards during parts of that game.

"We want go all the way. Nothing's won yet but that was probably the biggest statement we've made so far."

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16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
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