A limp first-half performance suggested Liverpool mentally conceded the title after the ruinous 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace which left Luis Suarez in floods of tears, and their misery was compounded when a cross from Yoan Gouffran was deflected into the Liverpool net by Martin Skrtel, guilty of his fourth own goal of the season.
Then, as news filtered through to Anfield of a killer goal for Samir Nasri at City, Liverpool promptly missed a glorious opportunity when Daniel Sturridge headed wide from a Jordan Henderson cross. Rodgers, with his hands raised in premature celebration, soon bore the same anguished look as the home supporters who realised this was not to be their year.
Liverpool at least made a good fight of things in the second half as they scored two near identical goals in two minutes, Daniel Agger and then Daniel Sturridge getting to Steven Gerrard free-kicks at the back post to sweep home, before Newcastle lost a man when Shola Ameobi lost his head and was booked twice in 10 seconds for dissent by referee Phil Dowd following Liverpool’s second goal. Paul Dummett followed for a wild and rather bizarre challenge on Suarez.
However, a second goal at the Etihad from Vincent Kompany had already won the title for City, with Liverpool’s admirable comeback counting for nothing as their late stumbles against Chelsea and Crystal Palace ensured a remarkable season was nevertheless coloured by disappointment.
18’ - CONTROVERSY! Oh that’s a lovely turn from Suarez to win a free-kick on the right flank. He goes for the quick shot and sends a glorious effort over the head of Krul from 35 yards out. Sensational. But the ref says the ball was still moving and blows the whistle.
20’ - GOAL! Martin Skrtel with an own goal! What a disaster! Newcastle attack down the left with Yoan Gouffran and the defender tries to cut out his cross with his right leg, only to see the ball clip off his shin and loop into his own net.
27’ - HUGE CHANCE! Liverpool opened up as Gouffran charges through the centre of the pitch to meet a lovely through ball from Ameobi. His first touch is heavy and the second is blasted straight at the chest of Mignolet. The ball then pops up nicely for Anita but he thrashes it high into the stands.
41’ - BIG MISS! Lovely build-up from Liverpool and Henderson delivers a cross from the right but Sturridge, unmarked, heads wide from eight yards out. Rodgers was already half-celebrating. What a miss.
63’ - GOAL! From the free-kick, which Gerrard puts towards the back post, Agger gets free and stretches out a leg to hook the ball back and under Krul.
65’ - GOAL! And now Liverpool lead! Another free-kick from an identical position from Gerrard and again he hits the back post. This time it’s Sturridge who is on hand to side-foot home unmarked.
66’ - RED CARD! Strangely enough, Ameobi is shown two yellow cards for dissent before the match restarts following the second Liverpool goal.
87’ - RED CARD! Dummett is shown a straight red and it was a rather wild swing at the ball, if rather messy. A bizarre challenge all round and Newcastle are down to nine men.
In 40 Premier League meetings between Liverpool and Newcastle United, there has never been a goalless draw.
Martin Skrtel has scored four own goals this season, more than any player in PL history has managed in a single season.
Shola Ameobi was sent off for the second time in his Premier League career – his other also came in May and on Merseyside, in Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat at Everton on May 7 2005
Luis Suarez failed to break the record for goals in a 38-game season as he was left without a 32nd goal of the campaign.
Was this Liverpool’s best chance of the title for some time? It’s been a wonderful campaign at Anfield but, with Champions League football to complicate matters next season, they might struggle to maintain a similar challenge in 2014/15. Had Gerrard not slipped and had Dwight Gayle not scored two late goals for Crystal Palace a first title since 1990 could have been theirs, yet it is City who are crowned Premier League champions.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool): Two assists from free-kicks for Liverpool's skipper as he made the difference for his side. Still, it won't numb the pain of that slip against Chelsea.
Liverpool: Mignolet 6, Johnson 6, Skrtel 5, Agger 7, Flanagan 5, Henderson 7, Gerrard 8, Allen 5, Sterling 7, Suarez 6, Sturridge 7. Subs: Cissokho 6, Lucas 6, Coutinho 6.
Newcastle: Krul 6, Taylor 6, Williamson 5, Coloccini 6, Haidara 5, Debuchy 6, Anita 5, Tiote 6, Gouffran 7, Sissoko 6, Shola Ameobi 5. Subs: Dummett 4, Sammy Ameobi 6, De Jong 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Newcastle United
- Premier League
- Martin Skrtel
- Luis Suarez
- Daniel Sturridge
- Yoan Gouffran
- Shola Ameobi
- Steven Gerrard
- Daniel Agger