at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Steven Gerrard was left in tears after Liverpool took a huge step towards winning the Barclays Premier League on a day of high emotion at Anfield.Liverpool’s captain called his team-mates together immediately after the 3-2 win over Manchester City and gave an impassioned speech, saying: ‘Listen, this is gone. We go to Norwich, exactly the same. We go together. Come on!’ Philippe Coutinho’s strike late in the second half means that if Liverpool win their last four games, then they will be champions for the first time since 1990. That sense of destiny, along with feelings from the 25th Hillsborough anniversary, sparked tearful scenes at the final whistle.
Gerrard said: ‘It was emotional. Very emotional. But we need to keep calm. There are still four big games to come. But that meant so much. They got back into the game and you fear the worst at that point.
‘But I think we showed that we are going to go to the wire, we are going to go all the way. Nothing has been won yet, but that was the biggest statement we have made so far. That was the longest 90 minutes I’ve ever probably played in.
‘I kept flashing back to how long the clock was taking in cup finals and in big games I’ve played in. It felt like the clock was going backwards in some parts of that game.
‘That is such a big result. Now we’ve got four big cup finals left.’
Liverpool charged into a two-goal lead thanks to Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel but a David Silva strike and a Glen Johnson own goal swung the game City’s way before Coutinho gave the hosts a 10th Premier League win in a row.
Jordan Henderson was sent off for a challenge on Samir Nasri, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: ‘Against all odds, we’re still fighting.
‘The group are very tight; we have fostered a real closeness. That’s improving all the time and you need that if you want to challenge and win. It’s more than quality and rolling out good players, there has to be a cause and you can see that intensity. It’s very strong.
‘It shows we have the mentality to win the game today as we have the quality to score from anywhere. At 2-2, we might have lost the game but determination and resilience mean we dust ourselves off and go again. The level of some of the football was so good.’
Manuel Pellegrini’s misery continued with the news he could be without Yaya Toure for the run-in after the midfielder hurt his groin.
Pellegrini said: ‘I said before the game that this is not the end of the Premier League. ‘The most important thing now is about what we can do in the future. If Liverpool win four more games and end up winning 14 straight games, then maybe they deserve to win the title.
‘But we are going to continue fighting until the end. We play a game in hand against Sunderland on Wednesday. We also have another game to play, so if we win them, we will be one point behind Liverpool and one ahead of Chelsea.
‘Football is about mistakes and good things. Liverpool won the game with a mistake (from Vincent Kompany). Yes, we (should have had) a very clear penalty, but I don’t want to talk about the referee. It is not fair to say we lost the game because of the referee.’– Daily Mail