Liverpool’s 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace on Monday was a tough pill to swallow for the Reds, but all is not lost just yet as far as the Premier League title is concerned.
Here are five reasons why the Merseyside outfit can win claim their first championship in the Premier League era.
1) The Table
First things first. Liverpool dropped two points on Monday in a game they had been winning 3-0 with 10 minutes to go, but, if I’m not mistaken, Brendan Rodgers’ side remain top of the Premier League table, one point clear of Manchester City. And that is a fact.
Of course, City have a game in hand which will be played this Wednesday. If Manuel Pellegrini's side win that match as well as their last fixture of the season, then everybody else’s results would be rendered irrelevant in this title race. However, crucially, they have to actually win those games and, as we have learned many times this season, there are no easy matches and no foregone conclusions. It is technically still Liverpool’s to lose, not City’s; it’s actually City’s to win.
3) Manchester City’s games
There are no easy games in the Premier League and City will face a tough test against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. The Villans have beaten Chelsea, drawn with Liverpool, defeated Manchester City and vanquished Arsenal this season, taking 10 points off the top four.
They are not going to make life easy for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this week by any means and, as we saw from Crystal Palace’s display in the second half on Monday night, even teams who are considered mid-table with ‘nothing to fight for’ have professional pride and hunger so it would be ludicrous to write them off, even at the Etihad. Then, after that, City still have to play West Ham United on the final day of campaign, while Liverpool host a Newcastle United side whose manager is under pressure.
The Hammers have beaten Tottenham twice and drawn with Chelsea, and they will not be making life easy for the Citizens on the final day. City are clear favourites now, but that’s all they are. Three teams can still win the title and you never know what might happen.
4) Unpredictable Season
The Premier League is unlike any other major league in the world. There is nowhere near as much drama anywhere else and I wouldn’t have it any other way, personally. The highs and the lows, and the fights and scraps at the top and the bottom of the league have been unprecedented. Arsenal were gliding through the first half of the season, Chelsea looked like winners for a couple of months, Liverpool have been declared sure-fire hits, and City now assume the role as favourites.
It has been eventful to say the least. Palace have surprised everyone under Tony Pulis, Aston Villa have caused no end of problems, West Ham have been tricky customers and if Sunderland can go and win 1-0 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, then you really can’t say any team has got a hold on the title. Personally, (and I am not a Liverpool fan) I don’t think City will take six points from their final two games. I think there is another twist yet and no team has really staked their claim convincingly over this title race. If I were a betting woman, I would be tempted to put my money on the Citizens choking under pressure this week. Villa can cause problems for them and this is the first time this season all eyes are on the Manchester outfit. How they respond to that pressure is going to make for a fascinating final week in English football.
5) Liverpool's determination
You could see what it meant to the manager and the players at the final whistle on Monday – captain Steven Gerrard was clearly upset, Luis Suarez was beside himself, Brendan Rodgers looked physically ill and the fans were distraught. This is a unit that wants this title so badly – I think perhaps they wanted it a little too much, to be honest, and took their eye off the ball on Monday – but the hunger, the desire, the belief, the ability and the opportunity are all there still. Liverpool are still in it and they can still win it. It’s not over yet.