Siao Mates Sep 16

Only Liverpool can stop themselves winning the Premier League title this season

They’re unlikely to admit it, but Liverpool fans must surely now believe the Premier League title will finally be theirs at the end of this season.


And why not? With five wins out of five in an amazing start to the season, the Reds have already created a five-point gap over nearest rivals – champions Manchester City, who pipped them to the Premiership by a mere point last season.


City somehow managed to throw away all three points away to Norwich City on Sunday morning (Singapore time).


I would be worried if I were a Manchester City fan. Guardiola had a little meltdown after the loss when he congratulated Liverpool for winning the title. But he may regret his September prophecy.


Consider this: Manchester City won the Premier League title in 2017/18 with 100 points. They won again last season with 99 points, and that was just one more than Liverpool. So, as much as I dislike counting, let’s do the math: If the defending champions hope to make it three in a row, they are going to have to secure 100 points. They could probably still win it with 99 points, or at the least, 98, and probably with the benefit of goal difference. 


That would mean that, with 99 points still up for grabs, Manchester City can afford to drop only 11 points in their remaining 33 matches. And they’ve already dropped five points in their first five.


Manchester CIty’s defeat at Carrow Road was the first time the usually-dominant side has lost against a newly-promoted team since Pep Guardiola took charge. Now every team in the Premier League will know that the champions can be beaten, and that is going to make it a hell lot more challenging for the defending champions to defend their title. 


Liverpool, meanwhile, are playing with a swagger. They were strong last season but they’ve started this one as champions of Europe. And now, really, the title is for them to lose. Bear in mind the Reds lost only one game in the Premier League last season – to Manchester City.


They also have a 15-match winning streak in the Premier League and have not lost a Premiership match at Anfield since April 2017.


So there you have it, Liverpool are now the most fearsome side to face in the Premier League. And while I’m not a Liverpool fan (I’m so impartial that even my scarf is black), I would not bet a single cent against them winning the title.


It would give me some sadistic pleasure to watch their fans see their beloved team miss out yet again for another season, just so the annoying refrain, “Next season will be ours”, can go on, but I don’t think so. They’re not going to lose the title this time. 


As for the sides that could pose a challenge to Liverpool’s pursuit to the title this season, I was quite happy to see Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea recording impressive victories over the weekend. However, I don’t think either side will last the distance. As a neutral, I’d love to see Tottenham win the title during my lifetime. It won’t be this season, though, but I hope I don’t need to live forever to see it happen. And Chelsea may have done better than Manchester City at Norwich prior to the break for international matches (they won 3-2), but their start has been stuttering.


Arsenal? I love watching them play. They showed their great defensive ability by restricting a side that took 31 shots at them to just two goals. How they managed to surrender a 2-0 lead at halftime to draw 2-2 is another story. How they managed to let Watford – a side that sits at the bottom of the table and looks poised to play Championship football next season – take 31 shots at them is a sorrowful mystery. 


Which leaves us with the most successful team in the Premier League’s history, Manchester United. 


In a way, I feel sorry for United fans today.


While their arch-rivals Liverpool make their inevitable march towards the title, United fans can only hope that their team would win just one of their matches against Liverpool or at least not lose both. They would pray as the Red Devils struggle to finish within the top four for a place in the Champions League, or at least a place in the Europa Cup. And they’d hope that their team converts as many penalties as possible, so Saturday’s winning goal by Marcus Rashford from the spot against Leicester City was a very good start. 


And when Liverpool lifts the title next May, poor Manchester United will finally be reduced to what Liverpool was when United started winning titles in the 1990s.


But will any sane Liverpool fan admit to believing the great Merseyside club will win the League title that has eluded them for three decades? I doubt it. 


Liverpool fans wouldn’t want to jinx their title hopes by making such an audacious claim. But I don’t think, in the light of the current form of all the clubs, it is audacious to say Liverpool would be champions. 


And if the Reds don’t eventually win the title this season, Liverpool fans are welcome to blame me for speaking too soon.