As an Evertonian, I obviously enjoyed the Toffees holding Liverpool to a goalless draw at a bouncing Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. It was the sort of performance from the team and atmosphere from the crowd that has been missing for a while, so it was nice to see and hear.
The result may well have dented the Reds title chances, as it left the visitors a point behind leaders Manchester City. It certainly rattled Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who looked set to assault one of the cheeky Everton ball boys after the game. However, looking at it from a professional point of view, there is still a long way to go in the title race.
Too early to rule out Liverpool yet
This result would have mattered more if it were the last game of the Premier League season. However, there are still nine league games remaining, in which either side can drop points.
One factor that could work in Liverpool’s favour is that they are out of the FA Cup. The Reds could also suffer elimination from the Champions League in the near future, while City look likely to progress to the last eight of the competition and are still in the FA Cup.
Those extra games could lead to fatigue to a City squad already suffering a few crucial injury problems. At the minute, though, it seems like the Citizens are the team with the winning momentum in the top-flight, as the Reds have now drawn four of their last six league matches.
Fixtures may be in Liverpool’s favour
If I were connected with either side, I would certainly take Liverpool’s remaining fixtures over City’s. The one big obstacle that stands in the way for the Citizens seems to be a trip to city rivals Manchester United.
The Red Devils will not want the Citizens gaining an advantage in the title race, while also needing points for their own chances of making the top four. However, United will not want bitter-rivals Liverpool to profit from their result either. It will be a difficult one for everybody of the United persuasion.
The Reds biggest challenges seem to be home games against fellow top six sides Chelsea and Tottenham. If either of these games were away from home, they would be much tougher encounters.
However, at Anfield Jurgen Klopp’s side will be expecting to beat the London pair, as they are unbeaten on home soil in the league in 35 matches. Liverpool have had a problem with slipping up (pardon the pun) against unexpected opposition in recent years, so their seemingly kind remaining fixtures could well be more challenging than expected.
Title race could go down to the wire
This season has made a refreshing change so far in the race for the title. In recent seasons, far too many teams have run away from the chasing pack at an early stage in the campaign, including City last season. However, this season’s fight for the title looks set to go down to the wire, which is only good for the neutral and brings more interest for the rest of the season.
It is good to see two very good teams battle it out for the title and I say that through gritted teeth. City are now favourites at odds of 4/11 to win the title, while Liverpool are odds of 11/5.
For me, it is far too tough to call. However, like every good Evertonian, I am not sure I could take the gloating if Liverpool finally won a title. I hope our neighbours will once again end the season empty-handed and look back at the campaign wondering what could have been.
Who will come out on top in the Premier League title race?
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