Manchester, England – This season may always be remembered for Liverpool trying to win it all, but Manchester City deserve better than being portrayed as a four-player.
After Liverpool drew with Tottenham Hotspur and City’s 5-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend, Pep Guardiola’s side need seven points from their last three games to win the title for the fourth time in the past five years. If they did – and with two weeks of the season remaining, it would still be an ‘if’ – it would be a feat Manchester United had never achieved in the Premier League era. If that happens, it’s a feat worthy of more than an asterisk at the bottom of Liverpool’s quest for history.
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Jurgen Klopp’s side have already confirmed that they will play in every game available to them this season – impressive in their own right – and could finish the season with the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League. If City can cross the finish line in the Premier League, they will assert themselves as the dominant force in English football. Not even Liverpool could match their level of continued success, and after that, Guardiola couldn’t resist digging into Merseyside.
“Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone,” the City coach said. “Of course because Liverpool have an incredible history in European competition – not in the Premier League, because they’ve won one in 30 years – but it’s not a problem at all.
“The situation is what it is. We need nine points or maybe six now, it depends on what happens in the next two games in terms of goal difference, but now Wednesday is the real real final for us.
“We will try to win there. Our destiny is in our hands and that is important. We have to look at ourselves. With one or three points, nothing has changed. We have to do that.”
It’s a testament to how quickly football can change that match against Newcastle that was supposed to be a test of City’s mental strength after their agonizing Champions League exit to Real Madrid ended up being a chance to lay one’s hand on the Premier League trophy. Guardiola spent his usual press conference on Friday talking about the potential psychological scars left by a late surrender at the Bernabeu, but as it turned out, the best tonic was Son Heung-min’s goal at Anfield.
Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday evening eased the pressure ahead of Newcastle’s visit to the Etihad, and the potentially embarrassing match was negotiated with relative ease. The visitors likely took the lead when Chris Wood was introduced to a free-header six yards away, but he was the only fear during the relaxed afternoon. Raheem Sterling (2), Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden scored the goals, and with three games remaining, City are three points clear.
Flights back from Madrid on Thursday morning were filled with fans worried that a Champions League disciplinary experience could lead to an internal meltdown in the title race, but by the time Sterling scored after 19 minutes, chants of “champions, champions” were echoing across the board. around. the Union. Lifting the mood should not be an issue ahead of the trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.
Beat Molino and West Ham United on Sunday and City will need a point from their last game against Aston Villa to be champions again. Not bad for a team that was supposed to excel.
“With what this team did, do you have any doubts?” Guardiola asked. “It was a perfect afternoon. We’ve been doing it for five years every three days. If some people doubt us, they don’t know this team. It’s one of the best groups I’ve coached in my life.”
“Three points, nine points to play for, and four on goal difference. Another final on Wednesday [against Wolves]. The difference between us and Liverpool is very narrow and goals can make a difference. It was important that we win.
“Hopefully we get to the Aston Villa game on the last day of the season and the fate of the Premier League is in our hands. But before that we have incredibly difficult matches. We will try.”
Guardiola said he may never get over the disappointment of Madrid. The inexplicable collapse in the Champions League semi-finals is hard to get past, but another Premier League victory – potentially a second consecutive title in five years – is more than consolation.
No one has come close to four times as much as Liverpool now, but we shouldn’t forget that City are also within walking distance of a piece of their history.