4 points separate Liverpool and City at the top of the premier league table. 4 points! with 17 matches and 51 points to play for. The title is still Liverpool’s to lose: 2 drawn matches by the Reds would tie City and Liverpool on equal points, and a draw and a loss would put Liverpool in second place, 1 point behind City…, granted the Skyblues do not drop another point until the end of the season – meaning winning 18 straight in the premier league – which would tie the premier league record – a tall order – which also is not going to happen.
So what lies in store for both teams going forward? Where are the pitfalls, the traps? What matches are the fans of both teams looking ahead in the schedule and getting anxious about?
Liverpool still have to visit Old Trafford in late February, and have the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in March, and they entertain Spurs and Chelsea at Anfield respectively. City host Arsenal and Chelsea back to back in early February, and visit Manchester United in mid-March while hosting Spurs in late April.
The trip to Old Trafford for both teams poses the most problems in this writer’s opinion – a tricky fixture for both teams facing a rejuvenated United squad fighting for a Champion’s League place playing for pride against their two bitterest rivals. Manchester United would like nothing more than to either spoil Liverpool or City’s season with a convincing victory at Old Trafford while moving up the table. I see either one or both teams losing at Old Trafford and leaving with serious damage done to their season.
And lest we forget about Spurs who are only 2 points behind City in third place and Chelsea in fourth, 4 points off Tottenham. Spurs and Chelsea have everything to play for and even a daunting task of visiting Anfield and the Etihad in the spring should have both the teams motivated to make a mark in their season. If Liverpool and City drop points as both teams are likely to do – then Spurs and Chelsea could easily move to the top – crazier things have happened, like Newcastle United blowing a 12 point lead with 13 matches remaining in 1996.
With 17 matches remaining and only 6 points separating the top three teams in the league – this season is more than likely going down to the wire, which means heartburn, ruined weekends and marital problems for all of us.