Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson reacted badly to criticism of the Reds' defence after the Premier League title challengers threw away a three-goal advantage to draw 3-3 with Crystal Palace.
Alongside team-mates Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, Johnson received criticism for his poor positioning and laziness during Palace's fightback.
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher, who played alongside Johnson last season, offered a scathing assessment of Liverpool's defence after two crucial points were dropped, per Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail:
Defensively they're not up to being Premier League champions. 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.
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler aimed his criticism directly at Johnson on Match of the Day, saying, "He looked shattered after being fantastic going forward all game, but he has to better defensively," reported by John Drayton of the Daily Mail.
Johnson, who received a flurry of abuse online, appeared irritated with the response, as noted on Twitter:
Brendan Rodgers offered a less emotional acknowledgement but understands the implications of such a dramatic capitulation. Manchester City will go two points clear heading into the final game of the season if they beat Aston Villa on Wednesday, meaning just a draw versus West Ham would see them crowned champions, barring at least an 11-goal swing in Liverpool's favour.
Rodgers knows this is unlikely.
"We needed to win tonight," he said, per Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail. "Man City have two home games and we needed to win tonight to keep the pressure on. I think City will go on and win their two games now—they will be champions."
Liverpool looked to have coolly responded to City's 3-2 win over Everton when they eased into a 3-0 lead shortly after halftime. Goals from Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez had many switching over, until Tony Pulis changed the game with the introduction of Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray.
Both added incision and energy to Palace's attack, with the former netting two well-taken goals after Damien Delaney's deflected strike beat Simon Mignolet. Liverpool had an opportunity to win the match in the dying seconds, but Victor Moses was unable to get his shot away on an open goal due to Palace's crowded box.
The result leaves Liverpool's title hopes in tatters. Five points dropped in two games provide City with the opportunity to grab their second league triumph in three years. While the race isn't over just yet, many Liverpool fans will be wondering when the club will receive a greater opportunity to win England's top division.
City, Chelsea and Arsenal can be expected to improve next season. After this, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United are likely to progress.
While Rodgers possesses a developing bunch of players, a group who should be applauded for their efforts this campaign, Liverpool are unlikely to receive another straightforward opportunity at the English crown any time soon.
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