Brendan Rodgers hailed the soaring progress of his Liverpool team as he congratulated Manchester City for winning the race to the Barclays Premier League title and pledged that the Reds will come back stronger.

A straightforward but difficult formula faced the club on the final day of the campaign; victory over Newcastle United was imperative and had to be coupled with defeat for their fellow contenders against West Ham United.

The Reds upheld their end of the bargain by recovering from a half-time deficit to down the Magpies, with Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge each capitalising from sublime set-piece deliveries by Steven Gerrard.

But a 2-0 win for City ensured that the trophy was presented at the Etihad Stadium instead of Anfield, following nine months of relentless and dramatic tussling at the summit.

Nevertheless, a 12th triumph in the past 14 fixtures secured second place in the standings for Rodgers' charges, capping a season which has exceeded the wildest expectations of supporters around the world.

"First and foremost, congratulations to Manchester City," said the proud boss post-match.

"It has been an incredible campaign, 38 really competitive and tough games in the most competitive league in football. And they are the champions, so congratulations to them.

"My overriding feeling at the moment is one of sheer pride in the players. To finish the season winning 12 games out of 14 - we drew one and lost one - the players have shown an incredible level of consistency and quality in that period.

"Over the course of the season, to finish second behind Manchester City, we'd prefer to finish top, but it is a great marker of the progress we've made this season."


On an enthralling championship race, Rodgers continued: "It wasn't the last few games - it's over 38 games, the best team after 38. Everyone focuses on these last few hurdles, which of course were tough.

"You saw the game today, teams are showing us a remarkable amount of respect to come in and sit deep. We had to find a way to get around them today; we tried to play through and were a bit slow in the first half.

"We changed our system to go 3-4-3 in the second half and then we could get around the outside and create a bit more space. People have looked at us and asked if we have coped with the pressure.

"I think 12 wins out of 14 shows that we clearly have. We lost the game at home to Chelsea, which was unfortunate. We've dropped other points elsewhere in the season, but I'm not going to worry too much about what's happened in the past.

"We won today. We were 3-0 up on Monday night and should have won the game, but didn't. We'll be better for that. I'm not sure if there's a group as young as the one here that has finished in the Champions League places, never mind second.

"It has been a wonderful campaign with a lot of growth and development. It has been incredible to see the supporters, to see the power of the club - the institution that is Liverpool. And we've made them dream, that's our job.

"The great thing about us is that we will improve, we will get better next season. We're a young group, we'll add more players and we'll be ready to fight again - now we've got the belief."