Just one point separates Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League with nine matches to go and bet365 have chalked up 9/2 that the title is decided by goal difference.
The ridiculous standard set by these two in recent years have seen them exchange titles with 30+ wins, threatening to breach the 100-point barrier.
In 2018/19, City failed to win just six games with Liverpool repeating that the following year. A below-par City got off to an awful start last season before recovering to win the title at a canter, dropping points in 11 games over the whole campaign.
With that in mind, a nail-biting finish looked unlikely back in January with Manchester City 14 points clear of the Anfield outfit. The title was all but wrapped up, and the title-winning margin was priced at 4/5 for 10 or more points. It’s now 10/11 that the margin is 1-3 points, and your guess is as good as mine as to who that will be in favour of.
At the start of January, the title to be settled on goal difference was a 50/1 shot, however, Klopp’s side have been hunting City down since giving away a 2-0 lead at Chelsea and we could possibly have a repeat of the 2011/12 title race when the blue half of Manchester out-did the red half by goal difference, courtesy of Agueroooo!
Liverpool have now won nine games on the bounce, but still have some catching up to do thanks to City’s 12-game winning run which spanned more than two months.
But the door is now ajar. There won’t have been too much concern after the draw at Southampton, but there will have been after losing 3-2 at home to Tottenham. The 1-0 win at Everton that followed won’t have inspired much confidence, and even the 4-1 hammering of rivals United was quickly undone by a draw at Selhurst Park, marking the second time Guardiola has failed to best Patrick Vieira this season. City don’t have a lot of time to build momentum ahead of their title showdown next Sunday.
We’ve seen these two fight out some close title races over recent years. Liverpool were in pole position before they slipped up in 2014 and they lost out to the Citizens by a single point in 2019, despite losing just one game all season – against Pep’s side.
But City are still clear favourites at 4/9. Despite the gap being closed to one point with an inferior goal difference, City fans shouldn’t be too worried by their run-in. The only game against a ‘big six’ rival sees them host Liverpool next weekend.
Such is the confidence on Merseyside though, Liverpool fans now see the title as firmly in their hands. Technically it is, of course. Win all of their remaining games and they’re champions. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, after City comes a trip to Villa Park to take on Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa. Manchester United and Everton follow, with a clash with top-four-chasing Tottenham in May.
There may well be twists and turns in the final two months of the season, but such is the pair’s superiority over the rest of the league, it’ll will be hard to look past whoever comes out on top next Sunday.
Goal difference – 9/2
1-3 points – 10/11
4-6 points – 5/2
7-9 points – 7/1
10 or more points – 28/1
By Steve Freeth