Man City advantage starts to turn to Liverpool amid timely reminder of Jürgen Klopp plea

Jürgen Klopp manager of Liverpool showing his appreciation to the fans at the end of the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage on April 21, 2024 in London, England.
Jürgen Klopp masterminded a Liverpool win over Fulham that starts to turn up the heat on Manchester City. -Credit:John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool simply had to win against Fulham. It had technically ended the winless run against Atalanta midweek, but that felt like another defeat, and a loss in London would have rendered Jürgen Klopp's final five games all but pointless.

As it is, the win moved Liverpool back up to second, ahead of Manchester City and level on points with Arsenal at the summit. Both still need to drop points (barring a massive goal difference swing in the latter case), but Klopp's men remain firmly in the hunt.

More important than the arithmetic at the top of the table is the belief that Liverpool won back. In truth, it had looked like a team limping to an underwhelming finish, but this was the game where the players really picked themselves off the canvas for the first time since the Manchester United setback.

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And an interesting group of players it was too. Klopp rang the changes, citing the fixture schedule, but it felt like an attempt to shake things up as well. Despite much moaning on social media, the selection paid off handsomely, with Ryan Gravenberch scoring a crucial goal.

In writing Liverpool off, many failed to heed Klopp's immortal words: doubters to believers. Nearly nine years later, that rallying cry still holds true as by far the best course of action for the remainder of the season, to preserve sanity as much as anything else, but also to play a small individual part in a culture that breeds success. How many times in the manager's reign have we seen Anfield make the decisive difference?

The travelling Kop played their part today. There was no hint of the naysaying that could be found online, with vocal support from first whistle to last. That needs to continue until the title is mathematically out of reach, amid the reminder that Klopp nearly always knows best.

Of course, it's in the lap of the gods now, or at least in the lap of Guardiola. The table doesn't lie, and while it shows a close race, it also shows that Manchester City needs to drop points between now and the end of the season.

We certainly know what tends to happen from here. After all, Manchester City has delivered in each of the last three seasons, seeing off challenges from both Liverpool and Arsenal in that time. But Liverpool can at least pile the pressure on by picking up results and the fixture advantage Manchester City enjoyed last weekend is starting to flip now.

Guardiola was able to set the pace on that occasion, playing first of the three challengers with a kind match-up against Luton. Whether the pressure got to Liverpool and Arsenal is up for interpretation, but both were aware they needed to play catch-up.

But now, Manchester City finds itself back in third. Still in the FA Cup, it didn't have a Premier League fixture this weekend, allowing Liverpool and Arsenal to move back in front.

And the advantage will extend further. Liverpool also plays against Everton before Manchester City is next in league action. It could rush into a four-point lead before Guardiola has to navigate a potentially awkward away day against Brighton.

Of course, the last few years have shown that Manchester City knows how to deal with this kind of pressure. But if Liverpool can just take care of its own business, it will at least turn the heat up on the reigning champion — faced with the option of doubting or believing, we owe it to Klopp to choose to believe one last time, starting with a massive midweek Merseyside meeting.

A version of this story was first published on April 15. It has since been updated.