Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea: Horrible defeat piles pressure on deflated Reds
Chelsea cashed in as Rodgers' lack of a Plan B came home to roost...
Last Updated: 28/04/14 11:02am
Reds skipper Gerrard lost his footing to allow Demba Ba a clean run through on goal in first-half stoppage-time and the Chelsea striker didn't miss, Willian doubling the lead late on with a simple finish.
Liverpool still lead Jose Mourinho's side by two points and ahead of Manchester City, who will win the title if they win all of their remaining games.
But the Anfield outfit could find themselves behind the west Londoners in a week's time as the play Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football after Chelsea take on struggling Norwich on Super Sunday.
Reflecting on Gerrard's blunder, Neville told Sky Sports News: "Steven is an experienced player but he'll know that was a big moment, a horrible moment for him.
"But it could happen to anybody. Even a player like Steven Gerrard, who has a career at this type of club, has those moments.
"It was a bad time for him to have it but Liverpool still had time to get back into the game and they didn't. He'll feel terrible tonight but he's got to try and pick himself up; he will because he's a great professional and he'll pick his team up this week because they've got a big, big task now.
"For the first time this season they'll be playing after the rest and that is a big, big thing. They are playing next week on a Monday night when the other teams could really have applied pressure to that game that they've got against Crystal Palace."
Neville won't yet rule Liverpool out of the title race - particularly as City still have to go to Everton, where they have won just twice in 16 attempts - but he says the defeat to Chelsea highlighted that they don't have a back-up strategy when 'Plan A' doesn't work.
"Liverpool will be deflated," he observed. "I don't think it is over for them at all. Next weekend Manchester City have to go to Everton and it's never good for them there - or it has been bad for them there at times in the last few years.
"There is more to play out in this title race. Mourinho is almost writing his team off again but they'll go above Liverpool again next week if they beat Norwich at home; if Norwich play like they did yesterday they will win that game and it puts a lot of pressure on this Liverpool team a week on Monday.
"They are still not out of it but they've got a big job now because they are going to be tested this week mentally. When you watch a team play who have got a 'Plan A' if they haven't got a 'Plan B', which I don't think that Liverpool have because they've only got 14 players, they have to persist with playing the same way.
"You sometimes see Mourinho teams or other teams in Europe where they can potentially go a little bit more direct, they can go for a crossing game.
"Liverpool, with the slight players that they've got up front, the small players - they have to persist the same way. I felt that when they got into the last third they didn't probe enough. Even with four minutes to go - and four minutes is a long, long time in a football match - they got a little desperate and they forced it a little bit.
"They should have just been probing the passes into Suarez in the box rather than going wide - that was probably the least number of touches I've seen him have in the box in a number of weeks. Instead they started to cross from poor areas and they also started to have lots of shots from unrealistic distances.
"What you saw today was a little bit of a lack of experience of how to handle a really big match with 10 minutes to go when you just need to continue to probe and play the same way."
After the match Mourinho praised his players, saying "the boys had an amazing performance so I'm so happy for them and for the fans. This is the spirit we always want at Chelsea Football Club". However, the Portuguese played down the Blues' title chances, saying that either City or Liverpool would win the title.
Neville said the Blues, as impressive as they were at Anfield, only have themselves to blame if they do miss out on the crown.
"Chelsea deserve a lot of credit for what they did today - it was a game for men and I think that Chelsea had a lot of experience out there," he reflected.
"But if I was a Chelsea player tonight I'd be going home angry, very angry that we dropped points against West Ham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and particularly last week against Sunderland.
"They'll be kicking themselves. I wouldn't be a Chelsea player celebrating on that bus going home. They'll be delighted that they've come to Anfield and won but they'll be absolutely kicking themselves, I would think, that they've lost stupid points in these last few weeks.
"I think Mourinho will be kicking himself as well that his players haven't been able to see it through against the lesser teams."