Friday, February 21, 2020

Mental strength now a key factor in the title race

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 29 Jan 2019

Embed from Getty Images

The midweek Premier League games could mark a very important point of the campaign. For a month or so reigning champions, Manchester City have been playing catch up to in-form league leaders Liverpool. City could cut the gap to just one point if they beat Newcastle on Tuesday night, leaving Liverpool to respond in a home game against Leicester on Wednesday night.

An important stage of the season

In reality, it is getting to an important stage of the season. The Champions League resumes soon, which will distract both Liverpool and City from the title race. The Citizens have struggled with managing the two competitions in recent years.

Liverpool, of course, got to the Champions League final last season but were a million miles behind City at the top of the Premier League table. Whoever negotiates the next few weeks of football the best will more than likely finish the season as Premier League champions.

Liverpool has a history of bottling the it in a title race

Liverpool have played like champions this season, pulling off victory after victory. The Reds have not really looked like slipping up in the pursuit of their first title in close to two decades.

However, the Merseysiders do have a recent history of slipping up when it really matters in the title race. Back in season 2013/14, Liverpool headed into the last three league games of the campaign four points clear at the top of the Premier League table after winning 11 straight league matches.

The Reds title bid collapsed when Brendan Rodgers side suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea before drawing 3-3 against Crystal Palace and slipping to second in the table on the final day, as ironically Manchester City nipped in to steal the title.

The lack of experience and title-winning knowledge in the Reds team that season certainly cost them. The current Liverpool team have a similar lack of experience when it comes to winning domestic titles.

Whether the current group are stronger than their predecessors of 2014 or indeed stronger than the Reds team of the recent past only time will tell. The players are saying the right things in the media and they seem strong enough. However, the City squad has the edge in having players accustomed to handling the pressure of winning the title.

They have been in this position before and it has usually produced a positive outcome for the Citizens more often than not.

Liverpool still big favourites for the title

Liverpool are still big favourites to win the Premier League title this season at odds of 4/6. However, City look to have rediscovered their top form. The pressure is on the Citizens to keep winning though, as they still have a gap to bridge.

I can still see Liverpool winning the league and I can see the Reds maintaining their four-point lead after gameweek 24’s matches. In fact, I would suggest that City’s match at Newcastle is far tougher than the Reds encounter with mid-table Leicester at Anfield.

If the Liverpool players can maintain their mental strength then the Reds have a good chance of ending their title drought. On their day Jurgen Klopp’s team can give any team in the Premier League and Europe a game.

At this crucial time of the season, we will see if Liverpool really has the mental strength as a team to get over the finish line and exercise the demons of 2014. City has been there, done it and bought a few t-shirts, so they really cannot be written off in the title race.

Who has the stronger mental strength within their squad Liverpool or Manchester City?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



Leave a Reply

Notify of
More More