A crucial 3-2 win over Manchester City saw Liverpool emerge as title favourites after another weekend of scintillating Premier League football.
On the weekend before the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Steven Gerrard’s tearful breakdown at full-time was evidence of just how highly emotions were running at Anfield as the Reds honed in on what would be a fitting way to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy and their families.
Well taken goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Škrtel were a just reward for Liverpool’s dominance in the early stages of the game as their opponents were simply blown away just as rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton all have been at Anfield this season.
However, Manchester City showed why many had tipped them as title favourites before the game as they produced a determined second-half display which had them back on level terms by the 62nd minute. The introduction of James Milner had a significant influence on the game and an own goal by Glen Johnson after a strike by David Silva put a halt on any celebrations.
Yet, Liverpool responded to arguably their biggest test as genuine title contenders when a mistake by City captain Vincent Kompany allowed Philippe Coutinho to finish smartly and secure a vital win for Liverpool; putting them in the driving seat as they look to claim their first league title for 24 years.
If Liverpool win their remaining four fixtures, they will be champions. City lie seven points behind the Reds with two games in hand, ready to pounce on any slip-ups. Liverpool’s greatest test is arguably yet to come with José Mourinho’s Chelsea set to visit Anfield on 27th Apr. Demba Ba’s fourth goal of the season away at Swansea made sure that the Blues remain just two points behind the leaders meaning that if they win their four remaining games, they will become champions.
With four weeks of the season remaining, the title race is sure to go down to the wire. While it is impossible to rule out Manchester City and Chelsea as potential champions, experts such as Alan Hansen predict that the momentum that Liverpool have built, teamed with the passion and belief shown by skipper Steven Gerrard after the final whistle, will see them over the line.
From a neutral perspective, it would be hard not to enjoy seeing Gerrard claim the one prize that has so far eluded him in an otherwise glittering career.
Image courtesy of This is Anfield