The 2021/22 Premier League title race came down to the wire between Liverpool and Manchester City with Pep Guardiola’s men emerging champions in the closing minutes of the season.
ONE crucial slip-up made by Steven Gerrard to cost Liverpool the title again
Identifying the big mistake made by Aston Villa boss Steven Gerard that helped Manchester City come back from two goals down and denied Liverpool the Premier League title.
Liverpool needed to win at home to Wolves and hope that Manchester City failed to win against Aston Villa for them to emerge victorious.
And as unlikely as that seemed, it was happening for long portions of the final day as the Villains, led by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard looked on course for an unprecedented win at the Etihad Stadium.
Aston Villa were 2-0 up against the champions after 69 minutes of football and even though Liverpool were drawing against Wolves at the time, they were still just one goal away from the Premier League title.
The Reds got that all-important goal and Mohamed Salah celebrated it vivaciously as though it were the title clincher but it wasn’t to be because things had changed at the Etihad.
Aston Villa had squandered a two-goal lead within five minutes and City would then go on to win a fourth league title in the last six years, mostly down to a costly error by Steven Gerrard.
How Stevie G cost Liverpool the title…again
Most football fans remember how Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip against Chelsea derailed Liverpool’s title charge late in the 2013/14 season.
Eight years later, with the Englishman now on the sidelines as Aston Villa manager and no Demba Ba in sight, Gerrard has managed the same outcome but this time with a tactical rather than a physical slip-up.
Manchester City came from two goals down late in the game to win 3-2 and secure the title and it was mostly down to their will, desire and mental fortitude.
The comeback could easily be attributed to Ilkay Gundogan, the midfielder who started and ended the comeback with two goals in five minutes after coming off the bench in the 68th minute.
And while all of that is valid, Gerrard’s decision to take out Philippe Coutinho and bring on the more defensive-minded Marvelous Nakamba was the real turning point in this game.
Coutinho had just capitalised on some poor defending by the hosts to drill a low shot past Ederson and double Aston Villa’s lead in the 69th minute.
A former Liverpool player scored the second goal for Aston Villa who were being coached by a former Liverpool player, it looked like destiny.
But just three minutes after Coutinho’s goal, the Brazilian was taken off by Gerard with the belief that the job was done.
Nakamba, a defensive midfielder came on in his stead to sure up the shocking result but Gerard inadvertently swung the game back in City’s favour.
City had the visitors pinned back for most of the game but still had to be wary of their potent counter-attacking threat, which was how they conceded twice in the first place.
Coutinho was gone and so was Villa’s outlet, Man City continued to press but this time without fear of retribution as Ollie Watkins alone was not enough to catch them on the break.
With the defensive shackles now off, the Cityzens turned up the heat, attacking in unrelenting fashion which produced three goals in five minutes to clinch the title and condemn Liverpool to yet another second-place finish.