England Premier League (EPL)Soccer News

Man City Have Held Off A Liverpool Title Challenge Before – Are They Ready To do it again?

With the gap at the top of the Premier League down to just three points, Pep Guardiola is getting prepared for another huge title tussle

The last time Manchester City were in a slugger’s duel at the top of the Premier League table with Liverpool, they had a pretty easy time of it when they visited Everton.

Goodison Park essentially shrugged its shoulders in February 2019 when goals from Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte secured a 2-0 victory for Pep Guardiola’s side, safe in the knowledge that they hadn’t helped their bitter rivals and their hopes of ending a 30-year wait for the title.

The second victory of a 14-match winning streak, that was about as easy as it got as City exchanged blows with Liverpool right until the final day of the season when they won the league by just a single point.

Win after win, test after test, the two best teams in the country kept responding without a single slip-up until they ran out of games.

And here we are again.

City’s slip-up at home to Spurs last Saturday coupled with Liverpool’s midweek victory over Leeds has closed the gap to just three points and once again there is no breathing space.

City’s slip-up at home to Spurs last Saturday coupled with Liverpool’s midweek victory over Leeds has closed the gap to just three points and once again there is no breathing space.


This time, City don’t even have the luxury of starting against a pliant Everton, with new boss Frank Lampard desperately needing points to stave off the threat of being dragged into a relegation battle.

Guardiola and the majority of his players have been here before, but just because they were successful last time doesn’t mean there will be anything taken for granted.

“We both know what we have to do,” the City boss said ahead of the Saturday tea-time clash. “I’ve spoken many times to the players: focus on our job. If it is enough to be champions then good, if not then congratulations to Liverpool.”

The City boss, outwardly remained calm about the situation in his pre-match news conference even if the reality of needing to win all or most of the remaining 12 matches will be another tall order.

But the challenge of it – as well as trying to claim a first ever Champions League title – means there will be little danger of his squad losing focus.

“As I get older, I’m learning to enjoy my profession – to be more supportive than ever,” Guardiola added. “I accept the defeats in a more natural way.

“I don’t like it, because I don’t sleep well after a defeat, but I accept that the other ones can beat you – they can be better than you. You have to improve, that there is still a margin to do better that we are still not doing.

“I enjoy it. I’m not so dramatic, like: ‘We are going to lose the Premier League’. What’s the problem? The problem is how you behave and how you are as a team, knowing that we want to win it – we want to do it.”


The similarities between the teams that played out a spectacular title race three seasons ago are clear.

Liverpool can still be unstoppable with a dynamic attacking threat running through the team from full-backs to forwards – now with the added threat of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. City, meanwhile, maintain their control and domination, waiting for their opportunities to produce a killer moment.

The differences are small, however, they are there all the same.

Defensively, Jurgen Klopp’s side aren’t as mean as they were, having conceded 33 percent more goals than at the same time three years ago.

It’s at the other end where City could be short, missing a striker and in particular one of Sergio Aguero’s quality.

The Argentinian twice scored the winner in 1-0 victories during their title run-in, most notably the tense victory away to Burnley when his winning goal crossed the line by less than an inch.

It was the smallest of margins and so eventually was the title race, settled on the last day of the campaign.

Many expect the same challenge again but the way the gap has come down so quickly is still surprising. But when Guardiola described Liverpool as a “pain in the ***”, it was because he knew they weren’t going to surrender their challenge.

Now with the difference down to three points and a huge clash to come at the Etihad Stadium in April, they will race them all the way to the finish line.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button