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John Aldridge: ‘The Premier League should send thank you cards to Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team for giving us a title race’

If Liverpool win their last nine Premier League games they will be crowned English champions for the 20th time – but I don’t think that will happen.

While I’m pleased to admit that I was wrong in calling Manchester City champions when they were 11 points clear at the start of January, this title race is unlikely to be decided as many people are predicting.

The first point to note here is that the Premier League should send thank you cards to Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team.

Without them, who have had an incredible run in recent months, this has been a one-team title race that would have done nothing for the claim that England’s top flight is the most entertaining in the world.

There is no doubt that Liverpool have a real chance of pulling off a miracle and if they lift the Premier League trophy at Anfield in May it could be the biggest trophy win in the club’s illustrious history.

It would be incredible to come from where they were and take a side from City who must have thought they had it in the bag and while it could happen it won’t be because Liverpool are in their last nine won games.

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Man City’s Phil Foden and Liverpool’s James Milner will give their all for the title

This weekend’s international break gives us a chance to catch our breath and gauge what’s in store for us in the Premier League title race and it’ll all boil down to a handful of games.

Everyone is looking to the April 10 match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium as the title decider and Pep Guardiola’s men could well win.

Although Liverpool are now knocking on their door and proving to be real pain in the neck (to use a phrase Guardiola suggested a couple of weeks ago to describe Klopp’s side), Liverpool have been unable to come back from a defeat at the Etihad.

I suspect we’ll see a tie in this big top-of-the-table match, and if that’s the case then look to the other eight games to decide the title.

I would expect Liverpool to win their next two home games against Watford and Manchester United, even if the second of those two looks difficult on paper.

The reality is that Klopp’s side United have long been light years ahead and they proved it by beating them 5-0 at Old Trafford in October.

So I would expect United to be beaten at Anfield and then watch home games against Everton, Spurs and Wolves.

The middle of those three could be difficult as Tottenham have players who can cause trouble for anyone on their day.

Harry Kane’s performance as they beat Manchester City at the Etihad last month confirmed it could be a difficult game for Liverpool, but the bigger threats lie outside of Anfield.

We saw Manchester City drop points at Crystal Palace earlier this month and Liverpool have three away games scheduled that could prove difficult.

Newcastle have been one of the form teams in the Premier League in recent months and St James’ Park will rock when Klopp’s side come to town on April 30.

The 12.30pm midday kick-off in this game is also an issue as players are struggling to play their best this early in the morning and we know Klopp doesn’t like games at this time.

Furthermore, Liverpool may have played a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich a few days earlier and you don’t know how the players will react to a tough trip to Tyneside right after.

The other two games I’m worried about are Southampton away, where Liverpool have often struggled, and then, interestingly, Aston Villa away.

Steven Gerrard has had a positive impact since taking over as Villa manager and his side have both Liverpool and City to play in the final weeks of this season.

How ironic it would be to see this Liverpool legend overseeing a result that cost his old club the title.

Then, on the final day of the Premier League season, Gerrard takes Villa to the Etihad Stadium to take on City.

Can you imagine the scenario where Villa somehow keep a clean sheet against City, Liverpool beat Wolves at Anfield and Gerrard wins the Premier League title for his old club?

Stevie never managed to get his hands on English football’s greatest prize during his time at Liverpool, but we could stamp him with a special title winners’ medal if he pulls off that trick!

I also watch City’s away games for slip-ups, their games at Wolves and West Ham are far from easy, so this story will have twists and turns.

The unknown is how Liverpool and City will respond to the challenges ahead and whether Guardiola’s side are distracted from their push to the Champions League.

City are desperate to win the big trophy in European football because after throwing an obscene amount of money into the battle to win the Champions League, they keep shaking their lines when it counts.

They face a tough quarter-final against an Atletico Madrid side who will do everything in their power to prevent them from playing.

Atletico have a style of play that’s hard to love and just as hard to break as Liverpool came to their liking in the Champions League a couple of years ago.

We saw what they did to Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this month but it will be good for Liverpool if City manage to play either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

It’s going to be a tiring job and could wear them out if they play Premier League games.

So don’t be fooled by the notion that Liverpool’s game against City at the Etihad in a few weeks’ time will decide everything, as this title race has many twists and turns.

Who will win the Premier League title?

It’s too close to decide at this point and I’m just happy we have a title race ahead of us and wouldn’t it be great if it went down to the last game of the season to decide everything?

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/the-premier-league-should-be-sending-thank-you-cards-to-jurgen-klopp-and-his-liverpool-team-for-giving-us-a-title-race-41495610.html John Aldridge: ‘The Premier League should send thank you cards to Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team for giving us a title race’

Fry Electronics Team

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