Man City on brink of Premier League glory as Liverpool clings to hope

A win for Manchester City at Brighton and Hove Albion will seal back-to-back Premier League titles for Pep Guardiola's men, but anything less and a Liverpool win will secure the title for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola's teams have delivered a thrilling title race that will be decided on Sunday.   -  AP

Manchester City and Liverpool have slugged it out in one of the most gripping Premier League title races of all-time, going toe to toe in a monumental battle for the ages.

But it will all be decided on Sunday when City travels to Brighton and Liverpool hosts Wolves, with Pep Guardiola's team the firm favourite to get over the line ahead of Jurgen Klopp's charging team.

The bare statistics from both sides this season are phenomenal.

City, on 95 points, has won its past 13 Premier League matches to wipe out a seven-point lead for Liverpool and is on the brink of becoming the first team to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009.

Klopp's men, with 94 points, have recovered from a mid-season stumble to record eight straight victories and are agonisingly close to their first English top-flight title since 1990.

The 18-time league winner faces the scarcely credible scenario of ending the season with the third-highest points tally in Premier League history and a single defeat yet still missing out on the title.

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City looks almost certain to finish off the job on the south coast but Guardiola, speaking after a nervy 1-0 win against Leicester on Monday, is taking nothing for granted.

“The players are mature, and we have one more game,” said Guardiola. “It will be tough in Brighton. They took a result at Arsenal. We played a few weeks ago against them (in the FA Cup semi-final) and it was tough.

 

“They will play for pride but it's in our hands. We were seven points behind but we never give up. We are still there and we win 13 games in a row.”

City cannot quite match the record 100 points it mustered last season but it has shown the ability to dig deep in recent weeks. Guardiola's side has been free-scoring for the majority of the campaign, racking up 91 goals, but three of its past four wins have been 1-0 victories.

A second consecutive title for the club, which remains on course for a historic domestic treble, would underline its status as the dominant force in the English game.

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A Vincent Kompany thunderbolt settled the match against Leicester, although that astonishing moment has since been overshadowed by breathtaking Champions League comebacks for Liverpool and Tottenham.

- Champions League -

 

Klopp will have to re-focus his players' minds on their clash with Wolves at Anfield after their semifinal heroics against Barcelona as they cling to the hope that City will slip up.

“We will again try to collect the bones and go again against Wolves,” said Klopp, who also has fitness doubts over Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson to deal with.

The Liverpool narrative has changed dramatically since it overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit against the Spanish champion to reach the Champions League final 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday.

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It now knows that even if it falls short it has the chance to become champion of Europe for a sixth time if it can get past Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

But despite its European adventure, the Anfield faithful are desperate to see their team at the top of the domestic tree again.

“Now I know the atmosphere will be brilliant again and they will need to push us again because it is a difficult game on Sunday,” added Klopp.

“We have to win, which is already difficult enough, and then we will see what happens in the other stadium.”

Divock Origi will once again be the key as Liverpool goes into the final day with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah injured.   -  Getty Images

 

Behind the runaway front two, all the issues in the Premier League are virtually done and dusted.

Barring a spectacular swing in goal difference, Tottenham will finish above Arsenal and mathematically seal the remaining Champions League spot alongside Chelsea, while the highest Manchester United can finish is fifth.

Wolves, in seventh place, cannot be caught and will earn a Europa League spot provided Watford does not beat City in the FA Cup final.

At the bottom of the table, Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff are already preparing for life in the second-tier Championship.

Fixtures

Sunday (7.30 pm IST)

Brighton vs Manchester City

Burnley vs Arsenal

Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth

Fulham vs Newcastle

Leicester vs Chelsea

Liverpool vs Wolves

Manchester United vs Cardiff

Southampton vs Huddersfield

Tottenham vs Everton

Watford vs  West Ham

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