Why Liverpool's win over Newcastle was so important

The famous Anfield club are back where they belong at the Premier League summit, but a loss to Newcastle would have poisoned the legacy of this season.

For a large part of Sunday's Premier League conclusion, it looked as though Liverpool would be sliding to a remarkable loss against Newcastle, a side that had lost 6 of their last 7 games and not won away since the beginning of March.

After so long blowing teams apart home and away, and looking odds on title favourites, Liverpool spent half their match against Alan Pardew's men behind, and looked way short of the sort of form that had entertained the Premier League for much of the season. Up until the 62nd minute, the Reds were in danger of not just coming short in the title race, but finishing below Chelsea and just 2 points above Arsenal in fourth. It would have been a catastrophic blow to their confidence, which has been so important in their performances this year, and may have impacted any belief they had in challenging for the league next year. It would have meant they took just one point from their final three games after a run where they won 11 games in a row.

The two minute turnaround started by Daniel Agger's back post volley, and finished by Daniel Sturridge's tap in, was in one sense purely about arresting what would have been an end to the season Brendan Rodgers and co would have been left to stew over all summer. As it was, the club turned it into a moment of redemption, with Steven Gerrard delivering the crosses for both goals, and Liverpool ensuring that they finished in second place, in doing so reaching an outstanding total of 101 Premier League goals scored this season.

It meant the lap of honour around Anfield could be conducted with the player's heads held high, safe in the knowledge that the capitulation against Crystal Palace was in the end null and void. Even if they'd have won that game City would have still snuck the title. 

The three draws and one loss since the turn of the year is a phenomenal set of results. They didn't lose the title against Chelsea, they lost it before the New Year when they were still trying to work out exactly how much of a title challenger they were.

There will likely be no such crisis of identity next season. Now Liverpool can look forward. To Champions League football, to competing for the some of the best players in the world in the summer transfer market, and for going one better in 2014-15.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch