Man City aim to end Liverpool’s quadruple bid in Premier League high point
SOCCER: Manchester City have the fate of the Premier League title in their hands ahead of tonight’s showdown on the final day (22 May), with the defending champions holding a narrow one-point lead over four-time rivals Liverpool.
It goes all out between Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp (left) and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola later today as their teams aim to win the Premier League title. Photo: AFP
Pep Guardiola’s men will claim the fourth English title in five years of a dominant era for the Abu Dhabi-backed city with a win over Aston Villa.
“It’s difficult to control your emotions when you know what you’re playing for,” said City coach Guardiola.
“The players are people but it’s football, when you think it’s over it’s not over.”
City know it was to their disadvantage as they were minutes away from the Champions League final only to squash a two-goal lead in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid earlier this month.
“It is unnecessary to tell them the importance,” Guardiola added. “They know it, they feel it.”
Liverpool will instead face Real next weekend in the battle for the crowning of European champions in Paris as they continue to vie for an unprecedented haul of four major trophies in one season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have already won the League Cup and the FA Cup.
“Imagine someone telling you before the season that you are in all three cup finals and want to fight for the championship,” said Liverpool manager Klopp.
“The boys did it – nurtured by the people here in the building, by our supporters, by all those things.
“It’s a fantastic time for a Liverpool fan and now we have to make sure we enjoy the last two games too,” added the German.
The presence of Liverpool great and now Villa manager Steven Gerrard on the opposition bench at the Etihad adds additional allure to the pivotal day in the title race.
Gerrard famously never won a league title in his 17-year career at Anfield but was able to deliver one on a plate to his old club.
Anything short of a City win will allow Liverpool to clinch the title with a home win over Wolves.
“We will go out at the weekend and do everything we can to score points for Aston Villa and our fans,” said Gerrard.
“If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic but my priority is to try and get points for Aston Villa.”
European locations at stake
Chelsea will join City and Liverpool in next season’s Champions League while north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal are still battling for fourth place.
Spurs are in the driver’s seat as they only need a draw with already-relegated Norwich to secure a Champions League return.
After back-to-back defeats, Arsenal have missed a golden opportunity to return to the top of European football.
The Gunners need to win at home against a side from Everton who have just sealed their Premier League status and hope Spurs stumble at Carrow Road.
Manchester United and West Ham are guaranteed European football next season, but their battle to take part in the Europa League and not the Conference League has also gone to the last day.
New United manager Erik Ten Hag is expected to be present on their trip to Crystal Palace.
Should United not win, a win at Brighton could see the Hammers move up to sixth place.
Fear of a pitch invasion
At the bottom of the table, one of Burnley and Leeds will be relegated.
Burnley have the advantage of only needing to match Leeds’ result thanks to their superior goal difference.
The Clarets host Newcastle at Turf Moor while Leeds travel to Brentford.
Everton’s jubilation at avoiding the drop as they beat Crystal Palace in dramatic fashion on Thursday was marred by a pitching invasion at Goodison Park.
Police are investigating an incident in which Palace manager Patrick Vieira was sacked after being taunted by a fan.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is keen to avoid similar scenes should Burnley stay up.
“I think we’re entering dangerous territory where something could happen in a game that could have terrible consequences,” he said.
Games (every 22:00 Phuket time)
Arsenal vs Everton
Brentford vs Leeds
Brighton vs West Ham
Burnley versus Newcastle
Chelsea vs Watford
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
Leicester vs Southampton
Liverpool vs Wolves
Manchester City vs Aston Villa
Norwich vs Tottenham