Liverpool will reel in Man City unless Pep Guardiola improves as Jürgen Klopp hope clear

Liverpool's Manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace at Anfield on April 14, 2024 in Liverpool, England.
Jürgen Klopp still has a big reason for Liverpool optimism. -Credit:Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Nine days ago, Liverpool was the favorite to win the Premier League and the Europa League. Now, Jürgen Klopp needs a miracle in Europe, and many would say he requires a second one on the domestic front.

With just two points between the top three, the Premier League gap does not look quite as daunting as the 3-0 deficit Liverpool will need to overturn in Bergamo. But relying as it does on both Arsenal and especially Manchester City dropping points, not to mention Klopp's side rapidly finding some form of its own, it looks to be a long way back.

Throw in the fact that Manchester City is widely regarded as having the 'easiest' run-in, and Pep Guardiola's late-season specialists look near-certain to motor away for a fourth consecutive title. But Klopp has good reason to believe that there will be more twists and turns to come.

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There are many proxies for how difficult a match might prove to be, but in the second half of the season, few can beat the reverse fixture from earlier in the campaign. Take Liverpool — it has dropped points on 11 occasions so far, and six of those have been repeat blows, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all unbeaten in both games against the Reds.

Between now and the end of the season, though, Liverpool faces five opponents whom it beat in the reverse fixture. The only exception is Spurs, and the extenuating circumstances there speak for themselves.

But even assuming Tottenham once again managed to take all three points, Liverpool would be giving itself some kind of fighting chance with five wins out of six. If nothing else, it would be keeping the pressure on Manchester City and Arsenal.

And Guardiola's 'easy' run-in is not quite what it seems. Manchester City must also take on Spurs, having been held to a draw earlier in the season, albeit again in controversial circumstances. Wolves also lie in wait, having earned a shock win back in September.

Unless Manchester City can improve on those results, it will drop a further five points. Coupled with Liverpool's one projected defeat to Spurs, that would leave the sides dead level, potentially even opening up the prospect of a title play-off.

Elsewhere, Guardiola only managed a narrow win over Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton side in the reverse fixture. The schedule means Manchester City could go into that game four points behind the challengers if Arsenal and Liverpool win their next two, piling on the pressure.

Speaking of Arsenal, it's broadly considered to have the toughest run-in. The 'reverse fixture' method doesn't quite bear that out, but does forecast more dropped points. Aston Villa completed the double at the weekend, and while none of the remaining opponents have beaten the Gunners, both Chelsea and Spurs earned draws.

Repeat results would see Arsenal finish a point adrift of Liverpool and Manchester City in a hugely dramatic conclusion to the Premier League season. Looking at it this way, it would be laughable for Klopp to have given up hope, with silverware still very much within the realms of possibility. says: How often do we see unlikely 'bogey teams' develop? Getting one result is about as good an indicator of a second result as you're likely to get.

Naturally, Manchester City would still be expected to beat Wolves, most likely by a comfortable margin. Brighton looks like a more testing fixture, along with Spurs. But if Liverpool can merely match its results from the first half of the season, it should have a fighting chance.