Manchester City has matters in its own hands after taking advantage of Liverpool losing to Chelsea by beating Crystal Palace
Atletico Madrid successfully negotiated another step toward winning the Spanish league, but the balance in the English Premier League title race shifted again on Sunday.
Sunday had started with Liverpool in control of its quest for a first English title since 1990. But Chelsea successfully stifled Liverpool and scored twice against the run of play to win 2-0 at Anfield.
Liverpool gifted Chelsea the opening goal in first-half stoppage time. Captain Steven Gerrard slipped near the halfway line, giving away the ball to Demba Ba, who advanced on goal unchallenged before slotting into the net.
After Chelsea withstood a series of attacks, Willian completed a counterattack in the 90th minute to end Liverpool’s 11-game winning streak. Liverpool’s first loss since being beaten by Chelsea away four months ago left manager Brendan Rodgers riled by Jose Mourinho’s ultra-defensive tactics.
“We are a team that tried to win the game, in a sporting manner,” Rodgers said. “We tried to initiate the game with the ball.”
Now Liverpool needs local rival Everton to take points from Man City next Saturday to help it regain the initiative. Despite City still sitting third in the table, three points from Liverpool and one behind Chelsea, the 2012 champions have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.
Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko scored at Crystal Palace to clinch a 2-0 win over a Palace side that had secured its topflight status by winning its previous five games.
Sunderland raised its hopes of survival by climbing out of the relegation zone and sending Cardiff bottom by beating the Welsh capital club 4-0.
Raul Garcia’s header gave Atletico a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Valencia to raise its hopes of a first domestic title in 18 years. Barcelona is four points behind in second place after Lionel Messi completed the defending champion’s comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Villarreal, two days after the death of former coach Tito Vilanova.
Real Madrid is two points further back in third with a game in hand. With a better head-to-head record against Madrid, Atletico can now clinch the domestic crown by winning two of its remaining three games.
Paris Saint-Germain’s title celebrations were put on hold after being held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-embattled Sochaux. PSG leads Monaco by eight points at the top of the league with just three rounds left.
Schalke failed to strengthen its grip on third place and a direct slot in the Champions League after being beaten 1-0 by Borussia Moenchengladbach.