Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a first league title has now become a formality. Even the most superstitious of supporters have surely finally accepted that the league has now become a matter of when and where rather than if.
The Premier League champions-elect are currently 22 points clear of current holders Manchester City with just 13 league matches left to play. To put that into perspective, Liverpool can afford to lose six of their remaining matches and still potentially reign supreme come the end of the campaign.
Questions of title parades, guards of honour and whether or not the league will be mathematically secured at Anfield or elsewhere, one thing is for certain – Kopites are planning for that precise moment of immortality that has eluded the club since 1990.
One particular question that has consistently been touted is how Liverpool can secure their first Premier League title at the home of their noisy neighbours across Stanley Park.
Mathematically, Liverpool need to win their next six league games to conclusively write their names of the prestigious trophy. The Reds’ clash with Everton falls on Monday, 16 March, in precisely five league games time.
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The reality is that if City were to drop points between now and that period and Liverpool win their next four league matches then a win at Goodison Park will officially get the job done.
It is a nightmare that some Evertonians will feel could turn into a reality. There have even been murmurs of Blues supporters trading their tickets with Reds fans just to avoid their envisaged catastrophe.
The likelihood of the title party beginning at Goodison are more likely than first thought. Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have an extremely tough run of fixtures and matches that on paper wouldn’t certainly be deemed losable for the reigning English champions.
Whilst their next fixture at home to West Ham United on Sunday won’t have supporters too optimistic, their next clash away to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium comes just four days before their do-or-die Champions League bout with 13-time holders Real Madrid.
Guardiola all but publically surrendered the race for the title during Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. The Catalonia manager labelled Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten-machine as ‘unstoppable’ before comparing the current gulf in quality at the top to his own City ‘centurions’ in 2018.
With their top-four prospects looking very much conclusive, it is incredibly likely that Guardiola will prioritise the Madrid clash to the Leicester game meaning he could be tempted to rest key players before the trip to the Bernabeu in midweek which could present a fixture where City could very realistically drop points.
If the Citizens manage to emerge from a bout with Brendan Rodgers’ side unscathed, then the next fixture Kopites can keep a close eye on will be the Manchester derby just a week before Liverpool’s short trip to their Merseyside rivals.
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s Red Devils are currently fighting for their lives to secure a Champions League finish and Liverpool fans will take comfort that the Norwegian has got the better of Guardiola on two occasions already this season.
Whilst it is tempting to fixate on external factors that can wrap up this Premier League title, the reality for Klopp and the players is that they will continue to do what they have done all season – focussing predominantly on themselves and taking each match as it comes.