How Liverpool Can Still Win The Title Race
It's a lofty task to overtake Man City - but not impossible.
It may be hard to see, but Liverpool still have a slim shot at winning the Premier League. A title bid however will require them to overcome a host of challenges, not least the relentless manner in which Manchester City win games.
Liverpool though know how to win and to pull things together when needed. In the 2018-19 season, The Reds went on a win streak that kept them in contention with City until the last day of the season. They did the same again in 2019-20, when many thought their chances had slipped away.
Then there's the belief factor. Bar a few challenges from the likes of Man U and Chelsea, Liverpool are still the only side in recent years to finish above City in the league table, or to have gone toe-to-toe with them. Jurgen Klopp's men will have belief they can do it again. The ability to not give up is a powerful thing.
Here's the table as of January 17:
Liverpool are 11 points off City with one game in hand. 11 points seems like a lot, but for arguments sake, let's believe Liverpool will win their game in hand - the gap is a theoretical 8 points. That doesn't seem so insurmountable.
The biggest challenge, as I wrote earlier, is the clinical way in which City win games. There's only a small chance they'll open the door wide enough for Liverpool to catch them.
Pep's side efficiently knocked out Chelsea on Saturday. A team all three hosts of the Swift Kicks Podcast said would be the title winners. (Trash take anyone?!). Ben changed his mind in a recent post - saying Man City should be handed the title.
Pep knows his team are in the driver's seat to win the Prem this season. But he has a poor habit of overthinking and tinkering, leading to the unexpected.
If the Reds can stay on City's tail for a little while longer, then their game at Etihad Stadium on April 9 could become huge.
There can be no room for error though. Every game will be a must win, and every decision made by Klopp, and every kick made by players will be scrutinized.
Another title challenge complication is the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane while they're on AFCON duties. But Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are forward thinking players who can fill their void.
Those are only short term fill-in's though. And realistically, this could be Liverpool's last chance for a while to challenge City for the title. The squad depth just isn't there.
Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are both in their 30's and missing more games because of injury. Virgil "Big Virg" van Dijk and Joe Gomez haven't been themselves since coming back from knee injuries last season.
Resolving that with a few new signings could really help. But so far, there's nobody coming in, and nobody leaving. That means everyone will have to stay fit in order to complete a perfect back half of the season.
And that is the only way Liverpool can take the title.