Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool v Manchester City: How the Premier League title run-in could unfold

Who will hold their nerve to be crowned champions?

Can Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool hold off the challenge of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (right) (Martin Rickett/PA)
Can Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool hold off the challenge of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (right) (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool and Manchester City are set to battle it out for the Premier League title over the closing matches of the season.

City have a game in hand over the Reds, who currently sit two points clear at the top of the table with six matches left to play.

Here, Press Association Sport’s Jim van Wijk takes a look at how the run-in could unfold.

Manchester City v Cardiff (April 3); Southampton v Liverpool (April 5)

With no midweek match for Liverpool, Pep Guardiola’s side can move back to the summit if they can secure three points at home against Cardiff, who are fighting their own battles at the other end of the table. While the Bluebirds were more than unfortunate not to get something out of Sunday’s match against Chelsea, anything other than a convincing home win for City would be a major surprise. By the time Liverpool head to Southampton on Friday night, they could well be playing catch-up. However, another strong showing at St Mary’s Stadium should see them leapfrog City once again.

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 33 Points 82
2. Man City: Played 32 Points 80

Crystal Palace v Manchester City; Liverpool v Chelsea (April 14)

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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson (left) got the better of Manchester City earlier in the season (Nick Potts/PA)

With Liverpool not in FA Cup semi-final action like City are, Jurgen Klopp’s squad will face something of a wait before they can get back to the title battle. City will be first up on  Sunday, April 14 with a potentially tricky trip to Selhurst Park. You suspect the Eagles still need a couple of results to secure their own survival and Roy Hodgson’s side have already shown City what they can do with a superb 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium before Christmas, so City could drop points again. Liverpool will know just what they have to do when Chelsea run out at a packed Anfield later on the same day – win. Game on.

Prediction:
1.  Liverpool: Played 34 Points 85
2. Man City: Played 33 Points 81

Manchester City v Tottenham (April 20); Cardiff v Liverpool (April 21)

Despite their late defensive mishap proving so cost against Liverpool on Sunday, Spurs were just moments away from leaving Anfield with a hard-earned draw. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have enough quality to cause City problems, and with Cardiff still battling on, both of the title rivals could drop points.

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 35 Points 86
2. Man City: Played 34 Points 82

Manchester United v Manchester City (April 24); Liverpool v Huddersfield (April 26)

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Paul Pogba scored twice as United came from behind to pull off a remarkable win last season (Nick Potts/PA)

United would love nothing more than to silence the ‘noisy neighbours’ – just like they did last season in delaying City’s title party after fighting back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Etihad. With Liverpool at home to already-relegated Huddersfield on the Friday night, it could prove a decisive blow.

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 36 Points 89
2. Man City: Played 35 Points 82

Burnley v Manchester City (April 28)

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche (left) is battling for points at the other end of the table (Dave Thompson/PA)

Turf Moor will host what could well be City’s last stand in their title challenge. The Clarets are likely to still be looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone, but expect City to come through and leave the champagne on ice at Anfield for a while longer.

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 36 Points 89
2. Man City: Played 36 Points 85

Manchester City v Leicester; Newcastle v Liverpool (May 4)

With potential Champions League fixtures and broadcast schedules yet to be confirmed, it remains to be seen which of the title rivals will play their penultimate match first. City, though, will have no margin for error against the Foxes. With the title in sight, Liverpool should be able to pick up at least a point on Tyneside, just to keep things interesting. Who said this was going to be easy?

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 37 Points 90
2. Man City: Played 37 Points 88

Brighton v Manchester City; Liverpool v Wolves (May 12)

So after gazing into our crystal ball, it will all come down to the last day of the season. Well, maybe. It would, though, be a fitting way for Liverpool to finally end their long wait for the title, with victory over Wolves – who could just have one eye on the FA Cup final – in front of their own fans at Anfield.

Prediction:
1. Liverpool: Played 38 Points 93
2. Man City: Played 38 Points 91

PA

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