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Chelsea Loss Puts Manchester City Back in the Title Picture

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A shock loss for Chelsea means Liverpool are the only side controlling their own destiny, but it doesn't change what the Reds need to do to guarantee the title and the day's big winners are Manchester City.

Mike Hewitt

At the start of the day, Liverpool's maximum potential points this season stood at 89, Chelsea's stood at 87, and with the two sides facing off at Anfield next weekend both could say they controlled their own destiny in the Premier League title chase. Now, following Chelsea's shock defeat to relegation-threatened Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have lost any shred of control and are at best third favourites for the title.

Now only capable of a maximum of 84 points, even beating Liverpool next weekend could see them finish below both Liverpool and Manchester Cityif Liverpool beat Norwich tomorrow and City beat West Brom on Monday. If that happens, Liverpool and City will remain capable of achieving 89 and 86 points respectively. If that happens—if Liverpool beat Norwich—even defeating Liverpool next weekend couldn't make up the difference.

However, assuming the two sides now leading the title race can win the games they will be favoured to the rest of the way, Chelsea's visit to Anfield is now City's best chance to win the title. That's largely due to City's goal differential advantage that would give the Manchester club the title if the two sides were tied on points—though Liverpool have made up much of their goal differential deficit and are now only three back of City by that measure.

In the end, though, it all adds up to not a whole lot of real difference for Liverpool. Before today, the Reds needed 10 of their remaining 12 possible points to guarantee their first title of the Premier League era. Now, they still need 10 of their remaining 12 possible points to guarantee the title. The only difference for Liverpool is that if they slip up, it's City poised to take advantage rather than Chelsea.

Yesterday, three wins and a draw guaranteed the title for Liverpool. After Chelsea's shock loss to Sunderland, three wins and a draw guarantee the title for Liverpool. Before or after, any loss in Liverpool's remaining four matches opened up the door to another side—only now that other side is City instead of Chelsea. The blue half of Manchester won big today while the Chelsea undoubtedly lost, but for Liverpool, not much has really changed.

Just like before, there's only one thing that really matters: beating Norwich City.