The 2018/19 Premier League season is only a month from being concluded, and with the title race having been one of the most closely fought for years, every match remains critical in determining whether Man City or Liverpool will come out on top.
The two sides have been within touching distance of each other for almost the entire season, and have been separated by an identical margin since Liverpool’s goalless draw at Everton on March 3 – the last occasion that either of the top two dropped points.
Liverpool currently have the advantage of points, though Man City have a game in hand. If no points are dropped by either side, the title will be decided by a solitary point in Man City’s favour.
If the battle for the title isn’t enough drama for fans of the two clubs – along with many neutral supporters – there is also the small matter of a Champions League trophy up for grabs. And European results may yet have an influence on the domestic title race.
Liverpool host Chelsea this weekend, on the back of a valuable 2-0 win over Porto in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie. Chelsea famously dealt a decisive blow in Liverpool’s quest for the title in 2014, and their 2-1 win at Anfield in the League Cup win in September has been Liverpool’s only home defeat in any competition this season.
With Chelsea fighting for a top four league position, the fixture is arguably the most difficult match remaining for Liverpool – particularly when considering Chelsea’s unbeaten run at Anfield stretching back to May 2012.
But having come through the past two league weekends with maximum points, and in challenging games at home to Spurs and away to Southampton, Liverpool are doing a fine job of keeping the maximum amount of pressure on Man City, and Jurgen Klopp’s team are well-placed to capitalize on any slip-ups by the defending champions.
Should Liverpool come away with the points on Sunday, the belief that they can deliver a long-awaited league title will be boosted even further.
Not that Man City have shown many weaknesses, particularly since Boxing Day. Prior to the midweek European loss at Spurs, Pep Guardiola’s side had won 21 of 23 matches in all competitions since losing to Leicester on December 26. The only exceptions were a draw against Chelsea in the League Cup final, which City subsequently won on penalties, and a 2-1 reverse at Newcastle in late January.
But a trip to Crystal Palace poses a potential threat, and although Palace have taken fewer home points than all but two Premier League clubs, they’ve enjoyed some good results against the top sides under Roy Hodgson and Man City’s players may also have one eye on the second leg of their Champions League quarter final tie.
There’s also the small matter of league games against Spurs and Man United to come for Man City in the following two league matches, with both opponents involved in a four-team battle for the remaining two Champions League places.
It’s certain to be a testing few weeks for both of the teams contesting for the title, and with some difficult league fixtures ahead, particularly for Man City, combined with both clubs’ separate goal of Champions League glory, the final month of the season promises much more drama to come in what has already been a memorable 2018/19 Premier League title race.