Going into the weekend, it was very clear what needed to happen for Liverpool to pip Manchester City to the Premier League title: the Reds needed to win their four remaining games and hope City dropped points. The Reds were a point behind and level on games played, so any dropped points by City meant they’d win the title by either a one or two-point margin should they win out.
Unfortunately, Liverpool dropped points instead. Tottenham were able to frustrate the Liverpool attack at Anfield yesterday and hold them to a single point. The draw means Liverpool and City are now level at 83 points, but City have a game in hand. So what does that mean for LFC’s possible avenues to a second title in three years?
The simple answer is they need to win their last three and hope City lose one or draw two of their last four. Unfortunately, even that doesn’t guarantee a Liverpool title.
Obviously, City drawing two would give them 91 points and LFC 92, so the Reds would win the title outright. But, given that City dropping points twice is the less likely scenario, let’s look at what happens if City lose and the Reds win out.
Both sides would end on 92 points. The title would then come down to tiebreakers. Not long ago, when title-winning scenarios were being discussed, it looked like City would have to win the title on points. The first tiebreaker is goal differential, and just a few weeks ago Liverpool had a small but seemingly decisive advantage there.
City has nearly erased that advantage after outscoring their last three opponents 12 to 1. If they beat Newcastle by one today, the goal differential will be level. If they win by more than one, they’ll have the lead. Now, should City lose one of their matches, they’ll obviously drop at least one in the GD column, so the first tiebreaker couldn’t possibly be closer.
The next tiebreaker would then be goals scored, where Liverpool currently lead 87-84. This is a small but crucial advantage for LFC, but City have shown they can pile on goals, so it’s certainly not a safe advantage.
Alright, so say we end with Liverpool and City level on points, goal difference, and goals scored. What then?
Well, the final tiebreaker is the head-to-head results of the two teams involved. In this case, LFC and City played to a 2-2 draw in each of their matches this season, so that doesn’t help us.
The only thing left after that is a winner-take-all play-off match to decide the title. Yes, there is a small, but definitely not impossible, chance the Premier League title could come down to a one-leg playoff at a neutral venue, which would be WILD.
Is that likely? No. The betting odds are still that City win the title on points. They can afford a slip as long as it’s only a draw, and it would be a shock if they do lose one of their remaining matches.
However, if they do slip up and lose, opening the door for Liverpool, we are almost guaranteed madness on the final day. If these two powerhouses enter the final day level on points, the chances are quite high that every single goal in their matches on that day will have massive implications on who ends up with the title.
So, in summation, pray to Fowler that City lose and then hold on to your butts.