It’s almost been five years since Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard’s, infamous slip against Chelsea which effectively cost his side their first league title for 24 years. The club you support will determine whether you think this moment was cruel or simply perfect, and whilst it might not happen under the same extreme circumstances, Liverpool are edging ever nearer to throwing away the title yet again.
There’s always a huge amount of pressure when you reach this stage; a single mistake could be costly to the entire season. The pressure on Klopp’s men was only compounded by the fact they were the last to play on gameweek 25, with other fixtures not going their way. Manchester City hosted Arsenal and got off to a flyer when Aguero scored in the first minute after Iwobi carelessly gave the ball away in the defensive third. Although Arsenal did grow into the game, it never seemed likely that their weak defence would be able to keep a prolific City attack at bay. This proved to be true when Aguero added another two goals securing the match-ball for himself and a crucial 3 points for his side. This victory is what created additional pressure on Liverpool, City just two points behind them with the reds yet to play. Klopp was still forced to side a makeshift defence, which included Matip and Milner, for the trip to West Ham. Regardless, Liverpool would still have been clear favourites to beat their inconsistent opponents and extend their lead back to 5 points. For the second game running now Liverpool have taken the lead fairly early on but have failed to hold the position for any significant period of time; Leicester’s Harry Maguire equalised just before half time at Anfield whilst Michail Antonio did the same just minutes after Sadio Mane opened the scoring last night. Again, Liverpool looked somewhat lacklustre never truly clicking into gear in this encounter. Consequently, the scoreline remained the same for the remainder of the match only earning Liverpool a single point when they would have been hoping for all three. As a result, their lead at the top has been cut from 5 points to 3. City’s slightly superior goal difference means that Liverpool are just one loss away from falling behind their title challengers.
As much as Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City was greatly expected by almost anyone who has any interest in the Premier League, this won’t have made it any less damaging to their hopes of finishing 4th. United were someway short of the sort of performance we’ve become used to seeing from them following the appointment of Solskjaer, but they were still able to secure a 0-1 win away to Leicester. This and Chelsea’s 5-0 thrashing of bottom side Huddersfield, in which new signing Gonzalo Higuaín played an instrumental role, scoring twice, sees Arsenal drop from 4th to 6th. Things don’t look great for Arsenal as of right now but they might not necessarily stay this way. In the remaining 13 games, Arsenal only have to play two of the top 6 whereas both Chelsea and United have to play 4. Of course, comparing who has the best run of games when there’s still so much of the season left to play is quite difficult, but you could argue that Arsenal’s run does edge it slightly, which is ideal for them considering they’re probably the side in the worst form out of the three competing for the final Champions League spot. Having said this, Arsenal’s defence is something that makes no game they play in a given victory and the fact that the transfer window has now passed means this is an issue they’re going to have to deal with for the rest of the season. The Premier League is extremely unpredictable but at this current moment in time, it’s hard to believe that many people would view Arsenal as favourites to secure fourth place.
Just like how three of the 4 Champions League spots look to have been decided already, the same could be said for the two of the three relegation spots. We’ve already touched on Huddersfield’s 5-0 loss to Chelsea, a result that leaves them a huge 13 points adrift from 17th placed Burnley. It really would require a miracle for Huddersfield to escape the drop, particularly with the appointment of new boss Jan Siewert not bringing any sort of upturn in form. As much as their not in a situation as dire as that of the Terriers, Fulham also have a huge task on their hands if they hope to avoid relegation. It looked as if Claudio Ranieri might be experiencing a change in fortune after an impressive comeback to beat Brighton 4-2, but that now doesn’t look to be the case. Fulham faced a trip to Crystal Palace and, although the Eagles were sitting in 15th place, they were and still are only 4 points clear of thee drop zone, making this a must-win for both sides. For virtually the entire game, it didn’t look like Fulham were likely to get any sort of result. Ranieri’s side weren’t short of possession but failed to do anything with it. Palace greatly dominated and even after their opening goal thanks to another Milivojevic penalty, they were still the side piling on the pressure. The introduction of new loan signing Michy Batshuayi provided a spark, the Belgian playing a crucial role in Palace’s late second goal despite only being on the pitch for a short time. Batshuayi spun his man brilliantly and fired a shot Rico’s way, only to see it saved and Schlupp put home the rebound. This 2-0 loss for Fulham puts them 7 points away from safety, surely making them, along with Huddersfield, favourites to suffer the dreaded drop.
As I’ve said, the Premier League is very unpredictable, even the positions in the league that look to be more set in stone still have every chance of changing. The fights for significant spots in the league that are much closer are only going to be all the more difficult to call, particularly when at least one of the top teams seems to slip up almost every week at the moment. Leaders Liverpool were the latest side to drop points but just the week before it was second placed Manchester City who unexpectedly lost to Newcastle. Consequently, we’re all set for yet another exciting end to a Premier League season.