Twenty-four years and counting.
Liverpool seemingly had the Premier League title all wrapped up a little over a week ago. Then came a 2-0 loss at home to Chelsea last Sunday and a 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace on Monday night.
The Reds were up 3-0 until Damien Delaney put Palace on the board in the 79th minute. From that point forward, Liverpool's defence completely melted down, with a Dwight Gayle brace bringing the match level in the 88th minute.
Give credit where credit is due. Palace thoroughly deserved their draw, and the job that manager Tony Pulis has done is nothing short of remarkable. When he took over, the Eagles looked sure for the drop, but now they'll finish comfortably mid-table and ruined one club's championship hopes.
The Telegraph's Henry Winter thinks Pulis deserves the title Manager of the Season:
...and that is why Tony Pulis is such a strong candidate for Manager of the Season....— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 5, 2014
James Ducker of The Times doesn't want Liverpool's collapse to overshadow Palace's strong performance:
Palace will be a bit of a footnote at this moment but it is remarkable what Tony Pulis has done in a short space of time there— James Ducker (@DuckerTheTimes) May 5, 2014
But of course all the attention is fixated on the table-toppers.
The Reds are now only a point above Manchester City, who have a game in hand. The title race is now seemingly over. Manager Brendan Rodgers admitted as much after the match, per the Premier League:
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: "We needed to win tonight.., I think Man City will go on and win the two games and be champions."— Premier League (@premierleague) May 5, 2014
As Mark Ogden of The Telegraph pointed out, rarely have you seen a club go to the top of the table yet look so completely heartbroken after the match:
Bizarre scenes. Lpool go top of the league with a game to play, but they look desolate. Strange season.— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) May 5, 2014
Defending has been a problem all season for Liverpool, with club legend Jamie Carragher acknowledging that the Reds' back four isn't good enough to win a title, per Richard Jolly and Sky Sports:
Carragher on Sky: "The defensive side of this team is not up to scratch and it's not up to the level of PL champions."— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) May 5, 2014
As BBC Sport's Phil McNulty pointed out, the club's attack has been so lethal that many of the defensive cracks have been papered over. But the dam broke on Monday night:
Liverpool's defence has been saved by Liverpool's attack so often this season - but the whole thing came apart in those final minutes.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) May 5, 2014
The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg wondered if manager Brendan Rodgers should've been content to win 3-1 and pack it in instead of trying to add any more goals:
Game management. Getting caught on break at 3-1, having just conceded... Just kill the game.— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) May 5, 2014
No Liverpool player took the loss harder than Luis Suarez, per Bleacher Report UK and The Telegraph's Paul Hayward:
Suarez with his shirt over his face for the whole walk back to the dressing room. He can't comprehend what just happened.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) May 5, 2014
Manchester City play Aston Villa on Wednesday night, and a win will put them two points clear of Liverpool heading into the final day of the season.
Although their players are clearly distraught, it's important that Rodgers manages to get their heads right for Sunday because there may be one more twist left in this unbelievable season.