English Premiership

City's tougher run-in gives Liverpool title chance

2019-04-04 13:25
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Cape Town - With six games remaining in the English Premier League season, champions Manchester City have the tougher run in to retain their title than their only realistic challenger, Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's men are looking to win back-to-back titles - a feat not achieved in over a decade - with rivals Manchester United being the last team to claim consecutive Premier League crowns (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09).

Guardiola was vocal about retaining the Premier League at the end of last season, saying: "I'm looking forward (to it). In the last 10 years no team was able to make back-to-back so that means how difficult it will be, but that is the challenge." 

After breezing past Cardiff City in a midweek clash on Wednesday, City moved back to the summit of the standings (80 points), but only a single point separates them from Liverpool (79).

The Citizens, however, have a tricky schedule in the next month.

On Sunday, City take on Brighton at Wembley for a FA Cup semi-final before travelling to Tottenham Hotspur's (Tuesday, April 9) for their Champions League quarter-final first-leg.

Guardiola's side then shift their focus to the Premier League with a visit to Crystal Palace, before a daunting three matches which could shift the title race in Liverpool's favour.

Spurs visit City on Wednesday, April 17 for the Champions League second leg clash and return three days later for a Premier League encounter before City travel to Old Trafford to take on arch-rivals Manchester United.

City's final three league fixtures see them take on Burnley, Leicester City and Brighton.

With that in mind, Guardiola has brushed aside the likelihood of breaking yet another record with the Blues.

Having already been crowned League Cup champions in February, City have a chance of completing the first-ever European quadruple (League Cup, Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League).

It could happen with the squad depth that Guardiola has at his disposal, but not without Liverpool breathing down City's necks for their first league title in nearly 30 years.

City's Premier League Fixtures:

Sunday, April 14 v Crystal Palace (Away) – 13th, 36 points

Saturday, April 20 v Tottenham Hotspur (Home) – 3rd, 64 

Wednesday, April 24 v Manchester United (Away) – 6th, 61

Sunday, April 28 v Burnley (Away) – 17th, 33

Saturday, May 4 v Leicester (Home) – 9th, 44

Sunday, May 12 v Brighton (Away) – 15th, 33

Liverpool's Premier League fixtures:

Friday, April 5 v Southampton (Away) – 16th, 33 points

Sunday, April 14 v Chelsea (Home) – 5th, 63

Sunday, April 21 v Cardiff (Away) – 18th, 28

Friday, April 26 v Huddersfield (Home) – 20th, 14

Saturday, May 4 v Newcastle (Away) - 14th, 35

Sunday, May 12 v Wolves (Home) - 7th, 47

KLOPP HAS A REAL SHOT

The Liverpool faithful are yearning to taste glory and under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp, the Reds have a real shot.

Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea at Anfield during the final games of the 2013/14 season - which saw City winning the Premier League - remains fresh in the minds of Liverpool supporters.

Since Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in 2015, the Reds have come close to winning two major tournaments, but ultimately tasted defeat against Sevilla in the Europa League final and last season suffered a 3-1 Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.

With only the Champions League and Premier League to focus on in the final two months of the lengthy European football season, Klopp has a chance to deliver what no manager could do in nearly 30 years.

On Friday, Liverpool travel to relegation-threatened Southampton before welcoming 2004 Champions League winners Porto (Tuesday, April 9) to Anfield for their first-leg quarter-final encounter.

Once again, the Reds will welcome Chelsea to Anfield in what will feel like a redemption match following Gerrard's slip in 2014.

Three days later Klopp will hope that his side can overcome Porto in Portugal on Wednesday, April 17.

In their final four league matches, Liverpool have it much easier compared to City as they take on Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle United and Wolves.

It is therefore clear that Liverpool have the 'easier' run-in to the English Premier League season as City's fixture congestion and playing against tougher opponents could take its toll on the Guardiola-managed side.

Who has the better chance of winning the Premier League title? Let us know at mysport@sport24.co.za

 

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