It’s fair to say the last few weeks haven’t gone to plan for Jürgen Klopp and his Liverpool side. Their form has been stunted, they’ve slipped to second, and what’s more Manchester City don’t look like they’re giving anyone an inch. So, does this mean it’s the perfect time to bet on the Reds?
History would perhaps say no. They failed at the final hurdle last year against Real Madrid, and most fans are still having nightmares about that slip. That doesn’t mean things can’t change though.
It will be an uphill battle, of course. The bookies have dropped Liverpool to around 12/5 now, but that could be just about the best value you’ll get for them all season. What’s more, if you try out new Coral bookmakers offers, which include £30 in free bets, then you could be quids in.
Although Man City are currently 4/11 favourites to lift the trophy, it’s naive to think the title race is over. Popular bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes appear to be convinced that the title is City’s, even though they still have to play rivals United at Old Trafford in April which is always a tough game. We’ve seen plenty of points dropped and titles lost in the final nine games of a season. Neither team will claim maximum points from now until May. But what is Liverpool’s case for winning the title?
Their run in is the main thing that holds them in good stead. Michael Owen has even claimed it puts them in pole position. That might be wishful thinking on the former Liverpool striker’s part, but he does have a point and there’s a key period in which the top spot could shift again.
That period is in mid-April, in which Manchester City could face an horrendous run of fixtures.
From April 14, the Blues face a run of Crystal Palace away, Tottenham at home and the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, all three fixtures in which points could be dropped.
The Eagles did a real number on the Champions at the Etihad earlier in the season and proved they knew exactly how to play against a Pep side. That will buoy Liverpool, who have real bankers against Cardiff and Huddersfield during that time.
That of course is still over a month away and the Reds will have the first real test out of the two against Spurs on March 31.
It’s a must win for Liverpool and will really test their mettle as they look to come out of a bad run of form. How the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane react is key, not to mention Klopp, who has really shown signs of stress in recent interviews.
Following that spell of fixtures, it really will be a race to the final whistle, with both teams enjoying winnable fixtures throughout the end of April and May.
If it goes down to the final day, Manchester City have the favourable tie away at Brighton, with Liverpool taking on Wolves at home. And it really could come down to that day.
It’s going to be exciting, and the chances are it’s going to be won or lost in mid-April. If Liverpool take maximum points from now until then, they’ve every change of placing the pressure right back on Guardiola and themselves back at the top of the pile.