For the first time in the history of the Premier League Liverpool are odds on favourites to win the title but Chelsea are massive dangers especially under the management of Jose Mourinho. After beating Manchester City at Anfield Liverpool will now play another potential championship decider against Chelsea at their own ground at the end of the month.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and it seems to be almost preordained that Liverpool will win the league for the first time since 1990. They have now won ten league matches in succession and have great momentum ahead of the run-in. Steven Gerard was in tears after the City game, realising the implications of winning the league this season.
Maybe I’m being a churlish Manchester United fan but the match with City and the whole season turned on a poor decision deep into injury time. Martin Skirtel clearly handled the ball in the area and if the resulting penalty had been converted there would have been a three point swing in favour of City.
A home win would have become a draw and three points would have been one and that could be the difference between the sides at the end of the season. Apparently poor refereeing decisions even themselves out over the course of a season but there is no way City can be compensated for such a big call going in favour of their opponents.
To be fair Liverpool were brilliant in the first half and could have scored at least four goals. City asserted themselves at the start of the second half and after two goals in five minutes looked the most likely winners. However, the balance of the match switched back to Liverpool. They scored the decisive third goal and then survived a huge penalty appeal.
If Liverpool win their last four matches they will be champions of England again and for the first time for 24 years. The vast talent in terms of attacking flair has compensated for a questionable defence. It would be good for the game if such an attractive team were to win the league. Luis Suarez looks a certainty to be named player of the year.
City must now regroup and are still right in the mix. It could all change again at the weekend if Liverpool do not beat Norwich away from home. Gerrard has said that each game becomes more important than the last but his side have to keep winning or they will be overhauled by City or Chelsea. On current form Liverpool should win the league but Petr Cech had something when suggesting lack of experience in this situation could ultimately count against them.
With the fixture between Liverpool and Chelsea possibly ending in a draw City are still right there and with a slightly easier run in than the other two should still be favourites in my opinion. Sergio Aguero should be fit now which could give a big boost to the team as they embark on the most important month of the season.
City looked unstoppable especially at home earlier in the season, averaging four goals per game at their own stadium. The goals dried up somewhat but Yaya Toure continues to score. From midfield he is the third highest scorer in the league this season, behind Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. He left the field in the first half against Liverpool and his influence was missed.
Manuel Pellegrini has been given a target of five trophies in as many seasons. However, if City only win the Capital One Cup this season they will have underperformed. At the start of February they were being backed for the quadruple but now they can only add the Premier League to their tally. They would be on target for their five honours in many years but the Capital One Cup would have been fourth in their list of priorities at the start of the season.
Chelsea can still win the Champions League and Premier League and that is testimony to the management and motivational skills of Mourinho. Without a prolific goalscorer he has got his side to the last for in Europe and still with a great chance of winning the league in the last month of the season.
It would be almost poetic if Liverpool win the league at such an emotional time. Gerrard has never won the title with his beloved team and surely deserves that honour after staying with his home town club. However, romanticism counts for nothing in sport which means the Special One may have the last laugh.