Liverpool currently sits at the top of the table and has an easier schedule ahead, but is that enough to dethrone Manchester City?
Before the English Premier League season began, fans and pundits across the world argued over who would be at the top of the table at the end of the season: Liverpool or Manchester City.
Manchester City, the reigning champions, brought back nearly their entire core and added yet another threatening winger, Riyad Mahrez. This is the same team that went on an 18-match winning run and a 22-match unbeaten run last year. They also collected 100 points out of 38 matches, a Premier League record.
Liverpool brought back an impressive team as well. Their three-headed attack boasted the league’s top scorer, Mohamed Salah, and featured two crafty wingers in Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool also added solid midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho. Although Liverpool finished in fourth place last year, they beat Manchester City in European competition and went on to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League.They fell, however, to Real Madrid in a game that still has an asterisk next to it’s name. This was done for Liverpool fans after a Sergio Ramos challenge took Salah out of the game in the first half.
As it stands, Liverpool is at the top of the table with about a month left in the season. They have five matches to go and have yet to face their toughest opponent, Chelsea, who is scheduled next. Their previous match against Chelsea ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge. Following Chelsea (5th), Liverpool faces Cardiff City (18th), Huddersfield (20th), Newcastle (14th) and Wolverhampton (7th).
Their Champions League draw, Porto, is favorable, but the matches bracket their Premier League clash against Chelsea. With three important games all in a row, that leaves little time to rest for the team.
Manchester City currently sits in second place by two points, but has played one less game than Liverpool. This means , Manchester City has more available points to claim. City’s final six matches are against Crystal Palace (13th), Tottenham (3rd), Manchester United (6th), Burnley (17th), Leicester City (9th) and Brighton (15th).
City’s schedule is much more difficult than Liverpool’s for two reasons. First, they play better opponents overall. Second, they have four games in two weeks.
The Champions League draw paired Tottenham and Manchester City for games on April 9 and April 17. The teams face off again on April 20 in Premier League play.With a game against Crystal Palace on April 14, this stretch will put City to the test at the end of the season.
The Premier League race falls on Manchester City’s home matches against Tottenham and away matches at Manchester United. Tottenham lost to City 1-0 earlier in the season due to a goal from Riyad Mahrez early in the match. Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1, looking like the better side for a large majority of the match. If City wins both of those games, they should almost certainly win the title.
If City lose or draw one of those games, Liverpool will be back in the driver’s seat and their fate will be in their own hands. For both clubs, every match from here on out is a must win. And there is nothing more exciting in soccer than two teams playing to win every single time they step onto the pitch –– unless they’re coached by Jose Mourinho, but that’s for another article.