Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Suarez’s redemption ends in tears as Reds drop title

BLACK DAY FOR REDS:The Uruguayan began the day on a high with two MVP awards, but ended it in a puddle of tears as Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead to kill their title dream


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, left, comforts teammate Luis Suarez on Monday after their side squandered a 3-0 lead to draw Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London, effectively ending their dream of wining the Premier League.

Photo: EPA

Distraught Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was helped from the Selhurst Park pitch on Monday by captain Steven Gerrard with his shirt pulled over his head to hide his emotions after a game billed as the crowning point of his redemption ended with the Reds conceding the Premier League title.

The day began with the Football Writers’ Association following the Professional Footballers’ Association in naming Suarez — often seen as the league’s villain — player of the season.

The awards were bestowed on the Uruguayan after he amassed a staggering 30 goals in 31 league appearances this season and propelled Liverpool to within touching distance of their first English title in 24 years.

Suarez added the 31st on Monday in the 55th minute of the Reds’ penultimate game of the season at Crystal Palace to put his side 3-0 ahead and in prime position to heap pressure back on Manchester City.

Victory at Selhurst Park would have left City needing to win their last two home games against Aston Villa and West Ham United to seal their second title in three seasons, but Liverpool made their lives easier by getting sloppy as they pushed for more goals.

Taking advantage of the lax defending, Palace scored three times in the final 11 minutes of the match, leaving Suarez laughing in disbelief as Dwight Gayle leveled the score with his second in the 88th minute.

The stunning equalizer had City’s Samir Nasri gloating on Twitter, saying: “What a game, what a league, I love Crystal Palace so much now our turn to do the job.”

As Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers conceded that their title bid was over, the infamously vocal Suarez seemed incapable of waving the white flag, let alone muttering anything after the final whistle.

With Suarez crouched on the pitch with his hands covering his eyes as the tears flowed, Gerrard pulled him to his feet and drove away the prying cameras.

The title was Liverpool’s to lose last week as pundits lauded Suarez and his team for their feats before a painful 2-0 home loss to a canny Chelsea left them requiring City — with a superior goal-difference — to slip up for them to win.

Nasri’s side hung on for a 3-2 win at Everton on Saturday to go top of the table and turn the pressure back on Suarez and Co, who cracked once more.

The Uruguayan was reported to have been feeling ill in the pre-match warmup and never looked fully fit on Monday, but the 27-year-old doggedly refused to give in.

He hunched over after running bursts and propped himself up on the advertising hoardings on more than one occasion, but was still able fire in a goal.

However, that was overshadowed by the tears that followed 40 minutes later from a player banned for racist comments, suspended for biting, punished for offensive gestures and accused of diving,

Despite the crushing defeat, Rodgers praised his team’s overall performance, saying: “When we’ve got time to sit down at the end of the season and reflect on it, we’ll see that this has been an outstanding season for Liverpool Football Club.”

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