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Premier League

  • 11 May 2014
  • • 19:30
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 44724

Liverpool - Newcastle Preview: Reds hoping for Manchester City slip-up with title still within reach

Liverpool - Newcastle Preview: Reds hoping for Manchester City slip-up with title still within reach

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Brendan Rodgers's side would win the title if they beat the Magpies and the league leaders lose to West Ham and the Reds will be going all out to secure three points on Sunday

Liverpool host Newcastle to close a superb Premier League campaign but much attention inside Anfield will be trained 30 miles east.

Brendan Rodgers's team head into the final game of the season with a chance of lifting the title for the first time in the Premier League era but dropped points against Chelsea and - quite remarkably - Crystal Palace over the past fortnight have handed the initiative back to leaders Manchester City.

A draw at home to West Ham would be enough for City to claim a second league crown in three years - Manuel Pellegrini's men are two points clear at the summit and 13 better off than Liverpool on goal difference.

The odds are that the recent wave of euphoria at Anfield will be replaced by a sense of what might have been but City's near miss on the final day against lowly QPR two years ago, along with the wildly unpredictable nature of this season's title race, means that events at the Etihad Stadium will be monitored keenly.

16/1 Liverpool are 16/1 with Bet365 to win the Premier League title
Irrespective of Sunday's outcome, the swashbuckling nature with which Liverpool chalked up 11 consecutive wins to put them in pole position for a first league crown in 24 years and secure a Champions League return will be one of the campaign's abiding memories.

By the same token, Chelsea's clinical 2-0 win on Merseyside to check their momentum and the defensive horror-show that turned Monday's handsome 3-0 lead at Palace into a dramatic 3-3 draw look set to be the kind of defining moments that the Anfield masses did not have in mind.

Rodgers believes that such a contrast in experiences and emotions over this short space of time will stand his squad in good stead.

He told Liverpool's official website: "To be successful, you have to be able to lose. If you look over the years, the great winners have been teams and individuals that have lost but have gone on and became a champion again.

"We've made great strides this season and there's still another game to go.

"If anyone had said to us in August about being top going into the last week of the season [Liverpool led by a point before City beat Aston Villa 4-0 on Wednesday], we would have taken that. We've qualified for the Champions League but we know there is an awful lot of work here that we want to achieve."

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson is sure to receive a feisty reception from the visiting supporters when he returns from a three-match ban but the Newcastle faithful end the season with boss Alan Pardew also in their crosshairs.

Seven wins and a draw in a nine-game spell spanning November and December meant that Newcastle had European designs of their own but their form has fallen off completely in recent months. May 3's 3-0 win to relegate Cardiff City ended a run of six consecutive losses, during which time they scored just once.

Pardew has no fresh injury concerns with which to contend while top scorer Loic Remy, on loan from QPR, is expected to play his last game for Newcastle, with a host of clubs - including Arsenal - reportedly interested in his signature.

For the hosts, prolific striker Luis Suarez would set a record for the most goals in a 38-game Premier League season if he finds the net on Sunday.

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