Following another entertaining week in the English Premier League, both Liverpool and Manchester City appear to be flawless. It seems this season’s title race will be decided by the slightest of margins.
These two sides have shown they are very similar. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has kept 20 clean sheets this season to Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson’s 19. Manchester City are averaging 2.5 goals a match to Liverpool’s 2.3, and the EPL’s current top goal scorers this season hail from these two clubs.
Given these points, both sides will give it their all in the final two matches of the season.
Former Reds, however, may influence the title race.
Enter Rafael Benítez and Brendan Rodgers.
Benítez managed the Reds from 2004-10, and he had a rather successful spell at the club. Benítez’s Liverpool won the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League with their famous victory over AC Milan in Istanbul. The Spaniard also secured the FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup under his tenure. Following his departure, Benítez took a series of managerial positions abroad before returning to England in 2016, where he now manages Newcastle United.
Meanwhile, Rodgers managed Liverpool from 2012-2015, where he helped the Reds return to the UEFA Champions League. Rodgers nearly led Liverpool to their first EPL title, where Liverpool scored an impressive 101 league goals in the 2013/14 season. Rodgers also earned the LMA Manager of the Year Award for his role at the club. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be and Rodgers spent a hiatus in Scotland before returning to the EPL in 2019, where he manages Leicester City.
Years later, these former Reds may play a part in helping Liverpool win their first EPL title. Liverpool will travel to Newcastle on EPL Matchday 37 whilst Manchester City host Leicester City.
Both clubs have served as bogey teams for the challengers. In the case of Liverpool, they have struggled at St. James’ Park in recent seasons. Over their previous five appearances, the Reds earned only five points from a possible 15 against the Magpies. Should the Scousers hope to win the title, they will need to overcome these bad omens.
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues were frustrated by the Foxes in recent seasons. During the 2015/16 season, Leicester held Manchester to a 0-0 draw before the Foxes earned a shocking 3-1 result at the Etihad. The Foxes then gave EPL freshman Pep Guardiola a cold welcome as they thrashed his Mancunian side 4-2 in 2016. Finally, Leicester forced Manchester to a 1-1 draw and then a penalty shootout in both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 EFL “Carabao” Cup Quarter-finals.
Based on this history, Liverpool and Manchester City will have difficult fixtures this weekend. Neither side should be complacent, and nothing can be taken for granted.
How will the challengers for the 2018/19 EPL title fare on Matchday 37?