Liverpool legend: '86 points will be enough to win the league'

Ian Rush expects that Liverpool will win their two remaning fixtures, and Manchester City will slip-up, allowing The Reds to claim the Premier League title

Ian Rush believes that Liverpool will win the Premier League title for the first time in their history if they are victorious in their final two fixtures this campaign.

Liverpool had looked the favourites to take the Premier League crown, but their 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea on Sunday has meant that Manchester City will come out on top, if they win all their remaining fixtures.

Rush, however, feels that City – who still have to travel to the Reds' Mersey rivals, Everton, and face Aston Villa and West Ham at home – will slip up.

He said to the Liverpool Echo: “It [the defeat to Chelsea] was a setback but there are still two games to go. We can get to 86 points and I believe 86 points will be enough to win the league.

“Being back in the Champions League next season is a big thing for Liverpool but I still believe we can win the title.”

Everyone Liverpool fan will be hoping that their former idol is correct in his hypothesis, too. Their remaining fixtures – away to Crystal Palace and at home to Newcastle United – appear winnable, but Brendan Rodgers’ side are no longer in control of their own destiny, after establishing themselves as favourites to take the title, and it remains to be seen how the squad will react to that.

The other team that could potentially end Liverpool’s title dreams are their weekend conquerors, Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s men are now poised just two points behind the Reds, but will need them and City to slip-up once more if they are to take the crown.

For this, he deserves credit not to be vilified. He could have gone to Anfield, played an open and expressive game – as Manchester City and Arsenal did – and seen his side beaten, but why would he?

If his side had lost that game, they would have been out of the Premier League title race. They needed to win the game and he chose to play the most effective tactics possible to get a result. Mourinho may have told everybody that would listen during the week building up to the fixture that he was going to play a reserve side and that the title race was over, but his celebration shows that all the talk was simply mind-games. He wanted to win that match desperately.

Indeed, for all the good that Brendan Rodgers has done for Liverpool this season, and there is no doubting he has done a phenomenal job, this game highlighted his naivety in these types of situations. If he had gone into the game and played for a draw, showing a willingness to change his principles, he would likely have got a point from the game and left Liverpool in pole position to claim their first Premier League crown.

As it was, he stuck rigidly to the same tactics that have got Liverpool into this position and it cost him.

Directly opposing what the old cliché might say, sometimes defence is the best form of attack and nobody knows this better than Mourinho.

]]> http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2014/04/28/mourinho-deserves-praise-not-criticism-for-outsmarting-brendan-r/ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 06:00:00 +0100

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