Realisitcally, Liverpool’s title defence is over. It probably has been for a few weeks, and even the players are starting to admit they’re likely out of it. That’s the reality, and as ex-Red Jamie Carragher sees it, if you offered them a top four finish right now they’d take it.
“Liverpool have got to be looking at the top four positions and just taking each game as it comes,” Carragher told Sky. “Their form is so up and down, you’re never quite sure what the team is going to be. I think right now if you offered Liverpool top four they’d take it.
“That’s what they’re aiming for at this moment. If they do get back into the title race—and to do that they have to beat City—then maybe in seven or eight games you see where they are and hopefully from Liverpool’s point of view City will have had a bit of a drop off.”
It’s possible, of course, that Manchester City will stumble. They stumbled and dropped a number of points in the autumn, after all. Seven points ahead and with a game in hand, though, makes them overwhelming favourites to finish ahead of the Reds this season.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s good run stubbornly refuses to end, and as of today they look more likely title challengers and a safer top four bet—which is why most Liverpool fans and players probably would be happy just to take a top four finish right about now.
Still, until Sunday’s match against City is played there will feel like at least some reason for optimism. Beat City, and their title chances will remain long—but not impossibly so. Lose or even draw, though, and it’s hard to see this year’s Reds making up the ground.