In much the same way as Atletico Madrid failed to penetrate the Chelsea defence in midweek, Liverpool also displayed a lack of ideas when trying to breach the Blues rearguard in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Anfield. For now, the 2-0 defeat means that Liverpool have lost the advantage in the title race as Manchester City have a superior goal difference with an extra match to play and only a three points gap to the Reds, but all is not lost for the Merseyside team.
A point for Liverpool against Chelsea would have been sufficient to allow them to win their two remaining matches at Crystal Palace and at home to Newcastle to clinch the title. However, an uncharacteristic slip by Steven Gerrard allowed Demba Ba a free run on goal and a relatively easy opportunity to beat the advancing Simon Mignolet. To entirely blame Gerrard for the goal would be slightly harsh as there are question marks relating to home defence which failed to cover their captain, leaving him as the last man.
After hearing the result from Anfield, Manchester City duly won 2-0 at Crystal Palace to establish themselves as new favourites for the Premier League title but a quick glance at their fixtures reveals that it is not plain sailing for their prospects.
An away trip to Everton is a particularly difficult fixture especially with this being the final home match of the campaign at Goodison and with their participation in European football for next season still undecided. Thereafter, a home match against Aston Villa may not be as easy as first appears as Villa tend to a better team on their travels and could still be involved in the relegation battle when they visit the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City will also remember that they were expected to earn a comfortable win against Sunderland recently, but only just escaped with a 2-2 draw and were indebted to Vito Mannone in allowing a late harmless shot to squirm into the net.
As for the chances of Chelsea securing the title, this can be best summarised as anything is possible under manager Jose Mourinho. He has already dismissed any notion of winning the Premier League this season but upcoming fixtures at home to Norwich City and away at Cardiff appear very winnable against two teams seemingly destined to play Championship football next season.
It may be the case that the destiny of the Premier League title is once again decided on the very last day of the season, but do not be surprised if Liverpool can still emerge as victors despite the setback against Chelsea.
The next two weeks will not be for the feint-hearted.
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