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Liverpool beats Newcastle, comes up short in EPL
Question of the Day
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) - With their title dreams extinguished, Liverpool’s players circled the pitch inside Anfield Stadium, heads bowed, to the backdrop of another passionately sung rendition of club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
The final match of the Reds’ season could have been a celebration of the most unlikely championship triumph in Premier League history.
It ended up being a tale of what might have been.
Brendan Rodgers‘ team did their part on what proved to be an anticlimactic last day, passing the 100-goal mark for the league campaign after near-identical strikes in the space of two second-half minutes by Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge. That clinched a club-record 26th league victory.
If there was any frustration inside Rodgers after the final whistle, he hid it well.
For Liverpool had the destiny of the title in its hands just three weeks ago, when it beat Norwich 3-2 for an 11th straight win. Then came a decisive nine days when Rodgers‘ side lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea before conceding three goals in the final 11 minutes to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace.
It meant there was more hope than expectation heading into the Newcastle match.
“We finished the season winning 12 games out of 14,” Rodgers said. “So the players have shown incredible level of consistency and quality in that period … we’d prefer to finish top, but it’s a great mark of progress this season.”
Twenty-five years on, Journey’s famous song “Don’t Stop Believin’” blared out before kickoff. But all hope among Liverpool fans was gone by halftime, with their team 1-0 down thanks to Martin Skrtel’s own goal in the 20th minute and City having virtually guaranteed finishing first by going 1-0 up against West Ham.
After a poor first half, Liverpool steeled itself to finish the season on a high, with Gerrard crossing for Agger to volley in after 63 minutes and then producing a similar delivery for Sturridge to tap in at the far post. It was all in vain.
“When we went in front and there was no roar from the crowd, I realized the story was elsewhere,” Rodgers said.
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