Heading into the final weeks of the season, Liverpool fans were in agreement: any hope of Manchester City dropping points in the title race would count on Tottenham or Manchester United taking points off them over a five day stretch in late April.
With Spurs having now played them in the league and lost, it might be time to find another hope. Because United, on current form, aren’t going to. United, on current form, can’t even give Everton a game. Which doesn’t bode well for Wednesday.
“I think I’ll be watching only if there’s nothing else to do,” was Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s response when asked if he’ll be turning on the Manchester derby Wednesday evening. “Hopefully I can avoid it—it is not something we can influence.
“It doesn’t look like at the moment that Man Utd are in a place to, either. What was the result today [against Everton]? 3-0? 4-0? We’ll see what comes out on Wednesday, but we have no influence on that and we still have to play games after that.”
For the record, it was 4-0, and United’s play made it a scoreline nobody on their side of it could have complained about. Maybe, just maybe, they will rebound; find a way to dig deep and play for pride; find a way even to keep their top four hopes alive.
Realistically, though, United aren’t in a place where they can reasonably be expected to take anything off City—even if they desperately need to to keep those fading top four hopes alive. But there are games beyond United, for City and Liverpool both.
City travel to Burnley on the weekend, a side known for giving talented teams a hard time, and after that face an improved Leicester. And whatever happens for City mid-week, the formula remains unchanged for Liverpool: just keep winning their games.
“It’s difficult, and we just have to stay focused on our things,” Klopp added. “That’s what worked really well so far and I don’t see any reason why we should change.”