At his press conference on Tuesday, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted he would be backing Manchester United in their Premier League clash with Liverpool that night.
Ultimately, he was optimistic that Guardiola – and any City fan for that matter – will hope United will do City a favor. Liverpool crushed their sad opponents 4-0 with a brilliant display of flowing, attacking football to lift City to the top of the table.
Liverpool are now top of the pack heading into City’s home game against Brighton tonight, with the Blues two points behind but one game less. Win tonight and Guardiola’s side will be one point clear with six games to play for both clubs.
READ MORE: Man City fans call on club to support Hillsborough disaster initiatives after tribute shaming
Just a few weeks ago, after City let a seemingly unassailable lead slip away at the top of the table, it felt like there was still plenty of twists and turns to come in a title race that could be even closer than in 2018/19.
Despite City’s lead evaporating, there was a sense of calm brought by the idea that Jurgen Klopp’s side were set to drop points at some point. But after seeing Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and co through Benfica, City and United in the space of a week, it looks increasingly unlikely that Liverpool will slide before the end of the season.
On paper, Liverpool have a slightly tougher run-in than City, but in their current form they are capable of beating any team in the world by at least two goals.
It’s a scary prospect for City, especially as Guardiola’s side haven’t always looked entirely convincing over the past two months. Yet Liverpool’s formidable form, the only points they’ve dropped in the last three months came in the 2-2 draw at the Etihad – in a way, that makes things much easier for City.
We now have to assume that Liverpool will take all 18 points from their remaining league fixtures. This will give them a final point total of 94; only in four Premier League seasons would he not have had enough points to be crowned champion.
On several occasions over the past few weeks, Guardiola has insisted that he and his teams are solely focused on their own performances and results, adopting a next-game mentality to avoid complicating things too much.
If that message hadn’t already penetrated all of his City players and supporters, then surely it will now. Win their remaining seven matches and City will claim a sixth Premier League crown on 95 points.
It’s a big question, especially considering the injury problems Guardiola has to deal with, as well as the small business of a Champions League semi-final against serial winners Real Madrid to juggle. But now, more than ever since the end of 2018/19, it’s time for tunnel vision.
If there’s one team in the world that can fend off Liverpool’s onslaught, it’s City. They navigated a similar situation in 2018/19 and they can do it again. They just have to keep winning.