Liverpool manager Roy Evans launched a stinging attack on his players after they blew their chance to overtake Manchester United and Arsenal and go top of the Premiership at Anfield.

Dion Dublin scored a dramatic goal in injury time, when keeper David James blundered, to give Coventry a victory which lifts them from the bottom three with a first win in nine games.

Liverpool squandered a host of chances before Robbie Fowler opened the scoring in 52 minutes with his 29th goal of the season.

It seemed like the beginning of the end for Coventry, but they secured the points with goals from Noel Whelan and then that late strike from Dublin, both following corners from Gary McAllister.Evans was furious at remaining third in the table on the same points as Arsenal and still three behind United.

He said: ''The players should know by now the game lasts 90 minutes. We should have had the game and the points in the bag before then.

''How do you explain a result like that? It was embarrassing. We had a number of good chances - and bad misses.

''We were patient, got a goal, only to be caught out by two innocuous corners. Both their goals were similar.

''Now it is back to square one and all to play for. We have played like this before at home, and I can't explain why.''

Coventry became the latest club to find out that Liverpool have a habit of taking their foot off the pedal when they are in the driving seat.

Player-manager Gordon Strachan said: ''The result was the one we wanted. We do work at set pieces with players like McAllister and Dublin, and that's how our goals came about.

''Dublin prefers to play as a striker, but he's scored more goals since we've got him playing at the back.

''We know we can't match teams like Liverpool at all-round skills. All we can do is watch and learn and hope our players are hungry enough for success.

''There is always one daft weekend in the season, and this is it, with us winning and United losing to Derby.

''I would say beating Newcastle in my first match as manager was more significant, but at least tonight I can go to the local and face the punters.''

Evans, meanwhile, believes Coventry still have a bit of work to do, if they are to avoid relegation.

''I know this might sound like sour grapes, but they didn't look a threat to our goal,'' he said.

''I think they have to show a bit more in their remaining games.''

Steve Tongue writes: Derby County's 3-2 win at Old Trafford gave Alex Ferguson plenty to think about ahead of Wednesday's European Cup semi final away to Borussia Dortmund.

''Maybe it will be a blessing in disguise,'' said Ferguson, ''a reminder that concentration has to be high in defensive positions.'' Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was at fault in racing from his penalty area as Dean Sturridge scored the critical third goal.

Little could have been done, however, to prevent a superb individual effort by Derby's new striker Paulo Wanchope, the Premiership's first Costa Rican recruit. Ferguson could not resist the temptation to have a dig or two at Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger, for insisting that the season should not be extended to prevent United playing four games in eight days.

He was uncomfortably aware that Arsenal's emphatic 3-0 win at Chelsea on Saturday morning added a new dimension to what was presumed to be a two-horse race for the title..

Chelsea were verbally mauled by their manager for such a limp performance, and so were their FA Cup semi-final opponents Wimbledon, after losing the other London derby 1-0 to Tottenham.

Those results left both teams in a poor position to pursue a European place through their League position as opposed to the Cup - all the more so since Aston Vila beat Everton in Dave Watson's first match as caretaker-manager of the Merseyside club.

Everton still need another win to banish all thought of relegation after a weekend that also left Nottingham Forest in a particularly parlous position.

Pierre van Hooijdonk was unfortunate to have a spectacular goal disallowed, but Southampton's 3-1 win at the City Ground improved their chances of escaping.

Their other critical game is a trip to Sunderland, whose acquisition of Chris Waddle and former Hearts man Allan Johnston, plus the return of Niall Quinn, seems to have given them new heart.

A 1-1 draw in their local derby at Newcastle was a terrific result that kept five teams beneath them.