LONDON, (Reuters) – Liverpool’s hopes of winning their first title in 24 years suffered a huge setback when they lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea and Manchester City took advantage with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace.
In the latest twist of a fascinating Premier League season, under-strength Chelsea cut the gap at the top to two points with two games to play in a tactical triumph for their manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho immediately ruled his team out of contention but the result boosted the title aspirations of third-placed City, who closed the gap on the leaders to three points with a comfortable victory at Palace.
They have a game in hand and a much better goal difference than either of their rivals.
If they win at fifth-placed Everton on Saturday, City will be hot favourites to repeat the title success of two years ago – possibly on goal difference once again.
The City supporters at Selhurst Park cheered news of Liverpool’s defeat and had further cause for celebration as Yaya Toure, returning from injury, made the first goal for Edin Dzeko with a perfect cross. Toure scored the second, his 19th in the league this season, before halftime after a fine run from the halfway line.
“It’s difficult to predict the outcome of this League,” City captain Vincent Kompany told Sky Sports.
“It’s in our hands again but there have been so many changes over this season.”
Chelsea have beaten both their title rivals at home and away and despite missing five leading players through injury and suspension, Mourinho also rested others ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Atletico Madrid.