As the Premier League reaches the pointy end of the campaign, the race for England’s top prize heats up.
After Manchester City were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League this morning and Liverpool progressed to the final four, the title race has officially taken another turn.
With City set to focus solely now on bringing home a second successive crown – Liverpool will be forced to continue their foray for their first title since 1990 alongside a gruelling tie against arguably the world’s premier side, Barcelona.
So, who will be the side standing tall when it is all set and done? Let’s take a look.
Two points clear, four games to go, surely this is the year they do it?
Based on face value and their current run of form, it is hard to see Liverpool dropping any points at this point of the season. However, what works against them are two major factors which may cost them their first title in almost 30 years.
City’s game in hand and their Champions League commitments. The first of these factors is one that Jurgen Klopp’s men can’t control and will need to rely on a range of results going their way if they want to seal top spot.
The second is one which will come down to squad rotation and trust in the depth – something Liverpool do have in some key areas of the pitch. The games against Barcelona come wedged in between the clashes against Huddersfield and Newcastle before their second leg at home comes before the all-important final match against Wolves.
Three of the four games could be potential banana skins for Liverpool as Cardiff are currently fighting for their lives in the relegation battle and Newcastle are the ultimate case of inconsistency. While Wolves have been a thorn in everyone’s side for the majority of the season and could be a tricky test at Anfield.
The Reds should be able to grind out results against all four but the final two games come at the most risk of being a potential slip up at the pointy end of the campaign.
Run home: Cardiff (A) W, Huddersfield (H) W, Newcastle (A) W, Wolves (H) W
Predicted points: 97 points (12 points)
A game in hand, no Champions League commitments and arguably in the best position to take home the title.
However, their run home suggests otherwise with two mammoth tasks to come in their next two matchdays.
Clashes against Tottenham and Manchester United setup what would be the two games which could all but seal their fate if they fail to or defeat both of the two sides. City are expected to bounce back this weekend against Spurs and will be fired up to do so in what is now a must-win game before a huge Manchester Derby the week after on the road.
United have been an enigma this season but have ground out some impressive results under Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer so expect them to give City an almighty test.
The next three after the initial two fixtures should be victories for City but will face a tricky test against a desperate Brighton on the final day who could very well still be in the thick of a relegation scrap.
Their destiny is in their own hands if they can win all of their remaining five games but the questions remains if they have the mettle to grind them out.
Run home: Tottenham (H) W, Manchester United (A) D, Burnley (A) W, Leicester (H) W, Brighton (A) W
Predicted points: 96 points (13 points)
- Liverpool – 97 points
- Manchester City – 96 points