EPL: The good and bad of pool

It wasn't entirely convincing, but the dream is on.

After watching Liverpool's 3-2 win over Manchester City at Anfield yesterday, all I can say is that the title is in the hands of the Reds.

Brendan Rodgers' men will win their first league title in 24 years if they win their remaining four games, and you have to say they are favourites.

You look at those four games - Norwich, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle - and even if they draw at home to Chelsea on April 27 - I think they'll get maximum points from the other games to see themselves through.

I don't expect Man City and Chelsea to win all their matches, either.

While you have to laud Liverpool's fighting spirit to score the winning goal in the 78th minute last night, the game also showed how they could still self-destruct.

 

FIGHT BACK

There was an air of inevitability around Anfield when City started their fightback.

You could see how City grew stronger even towards the end of the first half, and forced Simon Mignolet into a couple of good stops.

The Liverpool players were getting anxious.

The introduction of James Milner made a huge difference for Manuel Pellegrini's men.

Milner gave City an extra dimension on the right wing, and also allowed David Silva to pull the strings in the middle, something he did to great effect.

Even after Philippe Coutinho scored the winning goal in the 78th minute, Liverpool threatened to implode.

Defender Martin Skrtel was lucky not to concede a penalty after punching the ball in the box, and Jordan Henderson got himself sent off with a studs-up challenge in injury time.

Some point to Vincent Kompany's mistakes which played a part in all three of Liverpool's goals.

They have a point, although I don't feel sorry for him at all.

I rate him very highly as a defender but, as a footballer, this happens sometimes.

You do your best not to make mistakes, but sometimes you do.

And yesterday, he just made too many.

In all honesty, though, the talking point should not be about Kompany and how Liverpool won, but about the significance of the result.

When Coutinho's goal went in, even those in the directors' box were bouncing up and down.

Anfield was buzzing.

The noise was absolutely amazing, and the atmosphere was already electric because of all the emotion in the air after the observance ceremony for the Hillsborough tragedy.

Yesterday's win has made everyone at Liverpool believe.

The title dream is well and truly on.

 

Ray Houghton is a former Liverpool midfielder who played for the Reds from 1987 to 1992, winning two league titles and two FA Cup trophies. He is now an ambassador for the Football Association of Ireland and also works as a co-presenter on UK radio station talkSPORT.

 

This article was published on April 14 in The New Paper.

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