Coutinho puts Liverpool step nearer title

Liverpool's Phillippe Coutinho celebrates after he scores the winner against Manchester City. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA
Liverpool's Phillippe Coutinho celebrates after he scores the winner against Manchester City. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard cried tears of joy as his team moved a step closer to a first league title in 24 years with a thrilling 3-2 win over championship rivals Manchester City at Anfield.

Philippe Coutinho’s strike 12 minutes from time settled a pulsating encounter, which went all the hosts’ way in the first half with goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel.

However, City showed their resolve to bring it back to 2-2 in the second half as David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal pulled them level, but a sliced clearance from City captain Vincent Kompany fell kindly to Coutinho to rifle in the decisive fifth goal of the match.

At the final whistle Reds captain Gerrard looked to the heavens and burst into tears before gathering his team-mates around him into a huddle, no doubt to remind them that this title is not yet won despite this potentially pivotal result.

Manager Brendan Rodgers insisted the result of this game would not decide the destiny of the Barclays Premier League title but the Reds have four matches to go and after a 10th successive victory are on a seemingly unstoppable roll.

Chelsea, the other title-chasers, visit in a fortnight and a successful negotiation of that fixture would put Liverpool in the driving seat to win a first title since 1990.

City still have two matches in hand but this defeat takes things out of their control as they are now seven points off the top.

* With the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster falling tomorrow floral tributes were presented to Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush by City’s Mike Summerbee, Joe Corrigan and Tony Book before the kick-off and there was a ‘96 25 Years’ Kop mosaic for the impeccably observed minute’s silence.