The Premier League title race took another twist on Sunday as Liverpool regained top spot with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff.
Goals from Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner secured the Reds their sixth consecutive Premier League win to pile the pressure back on Manchester City.
But despite Liverpool’s incredible campaign, City still have their fate in their hands. Should they win their remaining four matches, they will secure back-to-back titles.
Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table with victory over Cardiff on Sunday
But Manchester City can secure victory in the title race if they win their remaining four games
Whatever happens, though, this has been a title race to remember – two supreme teams battling for an edge, week-by-week, pushing each other to incredible heights.
This season the lead at the top of the table has changed hands 27 times already. Only in 2001-02 (28) has the race been so neck-and-neck.
Here, Sportsmail illustrates just how good Liverpool will have to be to overhaul City and end their long wait for Premier League glory.
Jurgen Klopp’s record breakers
LIVERPOOL’S HIGHEST PL POINTS TALLY
2018-19 – 88*
2008-09 – 86
2013-14 – 84
2005-06 – 82
2001-02 – 80
It’s late April and Liverpool find themselves top of the table with a Champions League semi-final with Barcelona to come.
These are heady days for the red side of Merseyside and daunting enough to give their blue counterparts a headache.
Come May, of course, Klopp’s side could find themselves empty-handed. But let’s be clear: this is a special Liverpool team.
Sunday’s victory took them to 88 points, meaning they have now amassed more points than in any other Premier League season.
Their previous highest tally came in 2009, when they picked up 86 points but Manchester United pipped them to the title.
And let’s not forget, they still have three games to play…
Liverpool’s previous highest points tally came in 2009, when they had 86 but came second
Right place, wrong time
REDS WOULD HAVE ALREADY WON THE LEAGUE IN…
1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2009-10, 20010-11, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
Depending on who you ask, this is either a golden or a cursed era of Premier League football.
Neutrals are lucky enough to witness two of the division’s best ever teams battling it out for domestic football’s biggest prize, with each driving the other on to new heights.
But some Liverpool supporters must be asking why? Why in 2009 did their brilliant team of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Co have to come up against Sir Alex Ferguson’s excellent United side, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo?
And why now, when they have their best team since then, do City’s own record-breaking side have to stand in their way?
Liverpool have three games left this season but their tally of 88 points would have been enough to win the title in 15 of 26 previous Premier League seasons.
Should they beat Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves, they would have 97 points. Only one team has ever won more. You guessed it, City last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side would have already won the title in 15 of 26 previous Premier League years
City find a new gear in 2019
MAN CITY IN 2019
Spurs (H) – Won 1-0
Palace (A) – Won 3-1
Cardiff (H) – Won 2-0
Fulham (A) – Won 2-0
Watford (H) – Won 3-1
Bournmouth (A) – Won 1-0
West Ham (H) – Won 1-0
Chelsea (H) – Won 6-0
Everton (A) – Won 2-0
Arsenal (H) – Won 3-1
Newcastle (A) – LOST 2-1
Huddersfield (A) – Won 3-0
Wolves (H) – Won 3-0
Liverpool (H) – Won 2-1
It’s a mark of Manchester City’s calibre that Wednesday’s clash with bitter rivals Manchester United is seen as the last significant hurdle standing between them and the title.
After all, they still have three more matches to negotiate before the end of the season. But so efficient is Pep Guardiola’s machine that none of Leicester, Burnley or Brighton are expected to pose much threat to their title parade.
Who said the Premier League was competitive? Since the turn of the year, City have played 14 league games and won 13. Only Newcastle have laid a glove on them.
In fact, the defending champions have dropped only 16 points all season.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have dropped 17 and still find themselves in the position of hunters.
Phil Foden scored the only goal as City beat Spurs to pick up a 10th consecutive league win
Rock solid at the back
FEWEST GOALS LET IN BY ANY PL TEAM
2004-05 – Chelsea – 15
1998-99 – Arsenal – 17
2018- 19 – Liverpool – 20*
2018-19 – Man City – 22*
2007-08 Man United – 22
2005-06 – Chelsea – 22
Once a thriving charity for opposing strikers, the Reds backline has been transformed under Klopp, thanks in no small part to Virgil van Dijk and Alisson.
Liverpool may have thrown money at their biggest weakness, signing the (then) most expensive defender and goalkeeper in history, but the results have been remarkable.
With three games to go, Liverpool have conceded just 20 goals and kept 19 clean sheets.
Van Dijk’s impact has been rewarded with a spot on the PFA Player of the Year shortlist, while Alisson is one short of Liverpool’s Premier League record for clean sheets in a single season.
No other team can match their defensive record this season but, perhaps inevitably, City sit second when it comes to goals conceded (22), and clean sheets (17).
As it stands, Liverpool are on course to concede the third fewest goals of any team in Premier League history. But still that may not be enough.
Virgil van Dijk and Alisson have helped transform Liverpool’s backline under Klopp
Can City keep on running?
LONGEST PL WINNING RUNS IN HISTORY
18 – Man City (Aug-Dec 2017)
14 – Arsenal (Feb-Aug 2002)
13 – Chelsea (Oct-Dec 2016)
12 – Man Utd (March-Aug 2000)
11 – Man Utd (Dec 08-March 09), Chelsea (April-Sep 09), Liverpool (Feb-April 14) and Man City (April-Sep 15)
Fifty-one days have now passed since either Liverpool or Manchester City blinked in the race for the title.
Jurgen Klopps side have amassed six wins in a row since they drew with rivals Everton on March 3, while Guardiola’s side have won every one of their past 10 league games.
Should they continue that incredible sequence between now and the end of the season, they will retain the title.
And should they win all of their remaining four games, they will also secure the second longest run of consecutive victories in a single Premier League season.
They hold that record following a ludicrous spell of 18 straight wins between August and December 2017. Who would bet against them now?
Manchester City will have to win 14 games on the spin to guarantee the Premier League title
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