Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3: Jamie Carragher blasts 'unacceptable' defending as Liverpool see title hopes fade
Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel have been criticised by Gary Neville for their defending in the closing stages while Carragher admits the Reds have not handled the pressure of a title charge
Jamie Carragher has branded Liverpool’s 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace “unacceptable” and has targeted centre-back pairing Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho with his stinging criticism that has seen the Reds “throw away the Premier League title”.
Before kick-off, Liverpool knew they would have to hope for rivals Manchester City to slip-up in one of their remaining two matches, or overturn a goal difference deficit if they were to end their 24 year wait for a league success.
But when Luis Suarez struck in the second half to put Liverpool 3-0 up, fans of the Merseyside club would have been forgiven for turning their attentions to overcoming the goal difference gap between themselves and City. Unfortunately for Liverpool, the players had also let their heads drift, and were guilty of conceding three goals in 12 minutes as Damien Delaney and Dwight Gayle turned the tie on its head.
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Carragher was in the Sky Sports studio to analyse the match alongside Gary Neville, and the former England international was scathing in his assessment of how Liverpool let their lead and title challenge slip away in the most dramatic of fashions.
“Defensively they're not up to being Premier League champions,” said Carragher.
“Sakho makes you nervous. They always concede together. It's not good enough.
“That final 20 minutes was unacceptable. They concede too many goals.
“The back four and defensive side of this team have shown they can't cope with pressure. They're not leaders."
He continued: “You can't keep inviting pressure. They got out of jail at Norwich the other week and haven't learned their lesson; It's gone on and on over the past few months.
“Well tonight they haven't and have thrown away the Premier League title.”
After Carragher had his say, Neville highlighted just what the defeat meant to the away fans at Selhurst Park, who were visibly distraught with the result after they appeared to be on the path of an impressive victory against a Palace side who concede few goals at home.
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Neville admitted that the club might question when they will win the title, given that this season has been perceived as a year when the rest of their rivals – barring Arsenal – have been weaker due to managerial upheaval and squad reconstructions.
“Liverpool are going to be wondering when they're going to win the league again,” Neville said.
“The others are going to be so strong in the coming years.
“They've thrown it away. They are desolate, the Liverpool fans. That third goal was a shocker.
“The two centre-backs [Skrtel and Sakho] aren't leading or communicating. You need your back four to be tight, strong and to stay together.”
Liverpool do still have a chance of winning the league, as do Chelsea, but will need City to slip-up when they take on Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham on Sunday.
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