Manchester City and Liverpool arguably both deserve to be Premier League champions, but only one team can claim the title.
City are strong favourites to defend their crown, needing a win at Brighton and Hove Albion to guarantee top spot, while anything less will open the door for the Reds to clinch glory with victory at home to Wolves.
The Seagulls will not be a walkover, but with City having won 13 Premier League games in a row they will surely not stumble at the final hurdle.
So how have Liverpool and City been so far clear of the competition this season? Omnisport takes a look.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 10, 2019
Liverpool and City are both brilliant going forward, but it is arguably their resilience at the back that has seen them march clear of the chasing pack. Both teams have kept 20 clean sheets in the Premier League this term, with Brazil internationals Ederson and Alisson going head-to-head for the Golden Glove in Sunday’s action.
City have kept clean sheets in each of their past four games – helped by club captain Vincent Kompany returning for the run-in – while Liverpool’s 22 goals conceded is level with City’s record as the best in the league by some distance. For comparison, Tottenham’s 37 conceded is the nearest anyone has got to the top two.
Mistakes have been few and far between from either side. City have only made two errors leading to goals all season in the Premier League, while Liverpool’s four is only worse than Chelsea and Wolves on three apiece. West Ham’s 14 errors leading to shots on goal is the lowest in the division but City have only made one more, with Liverpool on 16.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 10, 2019
CONTROLLING THE BALL
Pep Guardiola’s philosophy is well known and City have followed his plans to the letter this season. They have recorded a league-high possession figure of 67.91 per cent, with Liverpool ranking third behind the arrival of ‘Sarriball’ at Chelsea. It is no surprise to see City top the table for passes, with their 25,784 more than a thousand over Chelsea’s tally. Again, Liverpool sit third – on 23,033 – with Jurgen Klopp’s side employing a pacier style.
Crucially, when City do lose the ball they tend to win it back very quickly. They have recovered possession in the final third 194 times this season, more than anyone else in the league. Even Klopp’s ‘Gegenpressing’ at Liverpool has only yielded 181 recoveries here – behind Chelsea and Everton. Bernardo Silva’s energy has also been key for City. The two highest distances covered in the Premier League this season both belong to the Portugal international, who ran an amazing 13.707 kilometres against Liverpool in January and a fraction under that versus Spurs in October.
The upshot of City’s mastery of possession means the 232 shots they have faced in the Premier League this term is comfortably the lowest in the top flight, with only 81 of them on target. Liverpool rank second for both metrics, facing 300 shots in total and 95 on target.
The most entertaining week of football, perhaps ever seen?
Let’s see what the boss had to say
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 10, 2019
CLINICAL IN ATTACK
Having plenty of the ball and being solid defensively is only half the job, of course, as putting the ball in the back of the net is still the hardest part of the game. Fortunately for City and Liverpool, they do not find this too difficult. With 91 goals scored going into the final weekend, City lead the way from Liverpool on 87. If you don’t buy a ticket, you cannot win the lottery, and City have had more shots (663) than anyone in the division while their 251 efforts on target is also far clear of the other 19 teams.
Mohamed Salah’s 22 goals and eight assists give him 30 goal involvements in total, one behind Chelsea star Eden Hazard. But City have two players in the top four: Sergio Aguero (28 goal involvements) and Raheem Sterling (27) with the Argentina attacker having played 32 games to Salah’s 37. Sterling (17 goals, 10 assists) is one of only three players to have recorded double figures for both goals and assists in the Premier League this season, joining Hazard (16 goals, 15 assists) and City team-mate Leroy Sane (10 goals, 10 assists) in an elite club.
Perhaps surprisingly, Arsenal have the best shot conversion rate in the league at 15.56 per cent, but Liverpool are only marginally behind on 15.48. Who knows how many points City may have accrued had they improved on a comparatively low 13.73 per cent, but they will likely have another Premier League title to comfort them.
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