City or Liverpool – 9 Games to go!

We’ve just witnessed what could be a pivotal week in the race for the Premier League title 2018/19.

Pep’s Man City machine has turned around the recent points deficit and now sit top of the table knowing that a win in each of their last 9 games has their title retained.

Back-to-back 1-0 victories over West Ham and Bournemouth coupled with Liverpool’s dropped points at Old Trafford and Goodison, have given the men from the Etihad a single point advantage heading into the latter stages of the season.

Klopp’s men need to regroup and quickly. Four draws their previous six league games, five in seven if you include the Champions League is not the form required in February / March in order to become legends.

It’s worth remembering that just a few weeks ago Klopp’s side could have been 10 points ahead had they managed to despatch City at the turn of the year. Plus Riyad Mahrez’s missed stoppage time penalty kick at Anfield inflicted an earlier defeat on the Kop faithful.

All change now!

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Due to the participation in the FA Cup, City’s run will be slightly disjointed from that of their title rivals, only two domestic league games in March could take the numerical advantage back to Merseyside should they deliver and turn recent draws into much needed wins.

Below are the remaining fixtures for each side in the quest to be crowned champions of England;

Man City

09/03/19 – Watford (H)

30/03/19– Fulham (A)

06/04/19 – Cardiff (H)

14/04/19 – Crystal Palace (A)

20/04/19 – Tottenham (H)

24/04/19 – Man Utd (A)

28/04/19 – Burnley (A)

04/05/19 – Leicester (H)

12/05/19 – Brighton (A)

Liverpool

10/03/09 – Burnley (H)

17/03/19 – Fulham (A)

31/03/19 – Tottenham (H)

05/04/19 – Southampton (A)

14/04/19 – Chelsea (H)

21/04/19 – Cardiff (A)

26/04/19 – Huddersfield (H)

04/05/19 – Newcastle (A)

12/05/19 – Wolves (H)

On paper the Manchester-based side have the easier run, but we all know that games and more importantly titles are not won on paper.

Spurs who have had what appears to be there annual wobble have to visit both title-hunting clubs and with pressure off they could get into their free flowing rhythm and cause an upset on the day.

Man Utd having recently taken points off Liverpool may find themselves in a catch 22 in mid-April. Win and they have the bragging rights of the City, lose and they may just have handed their biggest rivals their 1st title since 1990.

Could there even be a stranger twist brought about by recent event? Brendan Rodgers will take his hit -and-miss Leicester side to City in the penultimate game. Having seen the title slip away (pun intended) before being sacked – he could now play a pivotal role in derailing Pep’s men with little time remaining to recover.

One thing we believe for certain is that this title race is nowhere near over. Liverpool we believe will actually prefer to be the chaser rather than the chased.

An interesting few weeks ahead and games which will define legacies. It’s that important.

Liverpool and City image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football

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Liverpool FC – Title Contenders?

They came agonisingly close a couple of seasons ago but by allowing mistakes in their remaining games they opened the door for Man City to sneak in and steal what look to be deservedly theirs.

Gerrard’s now infamous slip and 10 unbelievable minutes at Selhurst Park ultimately cost the Merseyside club their 1st league triumph since 89-90. It’s been far too long for a club the stature of Liverpool to go without winning the highest domestic honour but this season they look capable of ending decades of hurt.

The start they have made has been impressive…16 points from 21. Away wins at Arsenal and Chelsea make statements throughout a season but to achieve both so early lays down an impressive marker. Throw in a hammering of Champions Leicester, a reasonable point at Spurs and it almost makes you forget about the early Burnley ambush at Turf Moor. Whilst most sides will drop unexpected points, it is these “Burnley-type” results that Klopp will be keen to eradicate, something which looked to be lesson learnt at Swansea recently.

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Last Saturday the animated German Manager celebrated his 1st year at Anfield, he can look back on a part-season that included appearances in the Capital One and Europa League Finals after inheriting a side from Brendan Rodgers and can claim he overachieved. Now with a summer transfer window under his belt it is clear that he has identified players and strengthened from back to front…

Loris Karius is over his early injury and is challenging Mignolet for the No1 jersey with 39 year old Manninger providing the experienced back up.

The shrewd acquisitions of Matip and Klavan have added depth and steel to the heart of the defence, you have to say that they are desperate for an out and out left back though. Milner has more than proved his worth by filing in, but a naturally left footed player would add additional balance to the starting XI. Hull City and Scotland’s Andy Robertson (recently linked) could be the answer for a reasonable price.

Midfield has seen the arrival of Gigi Wijnaldum from Newcastle for an inflated fee but he seems to be more at home on Merseyside than he did further north where he suffered relegation. The emergence of Kevin Stewart is a pleasing sight and the Kop are finally seeing the best of Lallana. Jordan Henderson is taking the captaincy role for both club and country, just like his idolised predecessor.

Mane, Coutinho and Firmino are a frightening trio for any defence to deal with and the fact that they are currently keeping a fit Daniel Sturridge out of the team is the highest praise they can be given.

An overall transfer spend of £62m was offset by recouping around £75m with the departures of Benteke, Ibe, Allen and perhaps most importantly Mario Balotelli. The fees and the times were right for these players to move on.

Just like the squad the Main Stand has been addressed. A new 3rd tier increases the capacity and takes the ground to a new level.  More supporters = more noise (hopefully positive). Just like Parkhead it is something special hearing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” bellowing out just before kick-off.

No European football provides a massive advantage, no long midweek journeys leading to disrupted weekend kick off times. The Champions League is where club belongS, however they should be using the dramatically reduced schedule of games to steal a march on the rest of the Premier League.

Speaking of domestic opponents…Next up are old rivals Manchester United on Monday night, a win would take them 6 points clear of Mourinho’s men. A game which needs no introduction and often meets expectations, if Klopp’s XI can shake off the rustiness of the international break then they should be aiming to make a further statement of intent in front of the watching World.

The Manager is in place, the squad is well-balanced, the books are showing positive numbers and the ground has finally gone under some re-development. It’s an exciting time if you’re a Liverpool fan, a time where it must be difficult to stop envisaging another prolonged period of success on the horizon.

The joint top scorers in the division still have work to do but from what they have shown already this season there is no reason why they can’t hold aloft that much sought after and long overdue trophy come May, football needs a serially competitive Liverpool side and it looks like we may just have one again.

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Liverpool vs Chelsea image sourced from www.football365.com
Liverpool fans image sourced from www.skysports.com