The most effective method of responding to the disappointment Liverpool endured on Monday evening was to immediately prepare for the next fixture, according to midfielder Lucas Leiva.

With around a quarter of an hour remaining against Crystal Palace, the Reds held a commanding advantage over their hosts - courtesy of strikes by Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

Three more points would have increased the pressure on Barclays Premier League title rivals Manchester City, who had two home encounters still to navigate at that stage of the battle.

But a turnaround of remarkable proportions ensued at Selhurst Park, with a deflected Damien Delaney blast paving the way for Dwight Gayle to convert twice and snatch a dramatic 3-3 draw.

That result, coupled with City's subsequent 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa on Wednesday, increased the difficulty of Liverpool's challenge, although the championship remains a mathematical chance.

The mood within the Kop camp was naturally quiet in the aftermath of what unfolded in London, but Lucas has explained how it was necessary for the players to instantly lift themselves.

"When we got back at Melwood on Wednesday we started to focus on the next game," said the Brazilian. "That's the way it is whether you win or lose - you have to start looking forward very quickly.

"What happened to us at Palace just shows how difficult the Premier League is. It doesn't matter where you play or against which team you play, you have to make sure the 90 minutes is full of concentration.

"We all know it's quite hard for City to lose it from the position they're in but we still have to believe that maybe something good will happen.

"It will only end at the end of the season and we still have Newcastle to play. We just have to keep going. It's not in our hands anymore.

"We don't know what's going to happen on Sunday. We are so close and if probably just one or two small details had gone our way, we would have won. We just have to improve and see if we can get some luck. We know it's going to be hard."


Whatever happens on the final day of the campaign - Liverpool could still finish first, second or third - staff, players and supporters can reflect on a season in which all expectations have been surpassed.

A return to Champions League football for the first time in five years was secured with three games left on the schedule, and all by producing arguably the finest style of play in the Premier League.

Lucas added: "Overall, I think it's been a fantastic season for us. People wouldn't have expected us to have achieved what we have achieved, and it's also the way we achieved it.

"As a team I think we can get better and hopefully we will improve very quickly. This season we didn't have any European games, which probably helped us to concentrate only on the Premier League.

"But we have a good squad and a few more players coming in this summer will boost the numbers and help us to play in all the competitions to win."