LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Manchester City will win the Premier League title but said his side had made great strides this season despite conceding three late goals to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace on Monday.
City's 3-2 victory at Everton on Saturday put them in control of the title race and Liverpool needed three points at Palace to stay in the running for a first English championship since 1990.
“For me we needed to win tonight to keep the pressure on,” Rodgers told reporters.
“It’s still in the hands of Manchester City, sous winning tonight would have given them a little bit of pressure in the Aston Villa game.
“Aston Villa will go and make it difficult like they have done against the top four teams this season, but I think everyone will look at Manchester City’s squad and know they can get the job done.”
Liverpool were sitting pretty at the top of the table after 11 successive wins and there was growing belief on Merseyside that the team were on the brink of the title.
But Chelsea ground out a 2-0 victory at Anfield last weekend to put Manchester City in control of their bid to claim a second title in three years.
As the Liverpool players trudged off the Selhurst Park pitchwith their heads in their hands, Rodgers admitted his side were deflated but spoke of his pride at the way they have performed this season.
“It feels like a loss when you are 3-0 up and concede goalslike that,” said the Northern Irishman, whose side host Newcastle United in their final match of the season at Anfield on Sunday.
“For 78 minutes we were outstanding and done everything we wanted to do. We didn’t have many scares and they end up getting three goals.
“I think we got carried away and thought we could get one or two more. We lost the defensive structure to our game and to concede the three goals we did at the end was hugely disappointing as we worked so hard to get 3-0 up.
“But for us to keep improving like we have been gives me immense pride and when we have got time to reflect on it at the end of the season, we will see it has been an outstanding season.”
Liverpool finished seventh under Rodgers last season and they top the table on 81 points with one game to play.
“We are ahead of schedule we have made great strides this year,” added Rodgers who took over as manager in 2012.
“This season has given great hope in going forward and we are trying to build something here.
“We have shown that we are capable and next season we will take more strides going forward.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)