It was a bittersweet victory for Liverpool at Anfield, with the hosts coming from behind to beat Newcastle, yet at the same time, losing out on the Premier League title.
Liverpool may not have been in control of their own destiny, but no one expected them to just throw away their last chance at the Premier League title. But at first, it looked like that was exactly what they were about to do.
Just twenty minutes into the match, Liverpool struck the decisive blow…into the back of their own net. Scrambling to clear a cross from Yoan Gouffran, Martin Skrtel stuck out his leg. The finish was fantastic – it was only too bad that the ball flew past Simon Mignolet to give Newcastle the lead.
It was the Slovakian’s fourth own goal of the season, setting a Premier League record. Yet he still holds the lead for most goals scored by a defender, making his goal difference better than many Premier League sides.
Liverpool, clearly aware of the importance of the match, tried to respond instantly. Daniel Agger sent in a sharp header, but he put it straight at Tim Krul. The goalkeeper had no trouble keeping his side in front.
In the 27th minute, Newcastle nearly doubled their lead. Shola Ameobi put Gouffran through for a one-on-one with Mignolet. The Belgian made a fantastic block, however, to keep his side within reach of a win.
After the break, Liverpool seemed subdued – probably because someone had let slip that Manchester City were beating West Ham. Still, they had to make sure Chelsea didn’t sneak into second. Steven Gerrard did his best, putting in a lovely ball, but neither Joe Allen nor Luis Suárez could manage to connect.
Just a few minutes later, though, and the hosts had turned it all around. Of course it all started from Gerrard and a free kick. The Reds captain whipped in a curling strike that Agger was just able to get a toe on, poking in from close range.
Liverpool had barely celebrated the equalizer when they were called upon to cheer on the go-ahead goal. Again, another Gerrard free kick. This time, it was Daniel Sturridge exposing Newcastle’s poor defending, tapping in from almost the exact spot as Agger.
Shola Ameobi made Liverpool’s task all the easier immediately after, seeing two yellow cards within a minute. It appeared as though he was complaining about not one but both of the Reds’ goals.
The visitors made it even easier on Liverpool when they went down to nine men, although there were only a few minutes left to play. Paul Dummett, on just five minutes before, took out Luis Suárez with a rather clumsy challenge and saw a straight red for his effort.
In the end, though, nothing Liverpool could do would be enough. City’s 2-0 victory over West Ham ensured they were untouchable, making sure they were the ones to claim the Premier League title. But that shouldn’t take anything away from what was a truly impressive season from Brendan Rodgers and the boys in red.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Flanagan (Cissokho 45), Henderson, Gerrard, Allen (Coutinho 59), Sterling, Suarez, Sturridge (Lucas 80)
Goals: Agger 63′, Sturridge 65′
Newcastle United: Krul; S.Taylor, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Debuchy, Anita, Tiote (Dummett), Gouffran (Sammy Ameobi 58); Sissoko; Shola Ameobi
Goals: Skrtel o.g. 20′