Title Race Swings Arsenal’s Way With City Games In Hand

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool are not ‘fully in’ the Premier League title race following defeat at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Everton won 2 – 0 thanks to goals from Jarrad Braithwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. It was the first time Everton won a Merseyside Derby at home since 2010.

The result makes it two wins, two defeats and a draw in Liverpool’s last five Premier League games. At this point of the season, in a title race against Manchester City, that could be fatal.

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Liverpool did well to rebound from the Crystal Palace and Atalanta defeats with a 3 – 1 win away at Fulham. However, the season appears to be getting away from them. An injury ravaged squad, constantly coming back from 1 – 0 down, in Klopp’s last season… they couldn’t do that forever.

When they conceded the first goal again at Goodison, they never looked like getting back into it. The result means they will be in third place and five points behind City if Guardiola’s team win their two games in hand.

“I can’t say now that we are still fully in it,” said Klopp. “We need a crisis at Man City and Arsenal and we need to win football games because if they start losing all their games and we do what we did tonight then nothing changes.”

Admittedly due to City not playing in the league, the title race momentum has swung Arsenal’s way this week.

Arsenal responded to their loss against Villa with a win away at Wolves and a casual swatting aside of Chelsea. They have tough games still to play, but they’re not going anywhere.

Manchester City aren’t going anywhere either, at least not quickly according to Pep Guardiola. Somewhat unusually, he’s really playing up the fatigue element.

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“Not just in the legs, more they were tired in the head. These guys have three weeks off, one month , not much rest to recover. People say: ‘Ah, I complain.’ But I defend my players, I know what I’m talking about, much better than the people outside.”

It’s still theirs to lose, but they must win their two games in hand to go top, two points above Arsenal. They won’t play their second game in hand until the second last day of the season. This means if Arsenal keep winning, they can push it until the season’s final day.

“Science says you need a certain time to recover, not just physically – mentally as well. And for many years we don’t give them that but still we are there. That’s why I say I’m really impressed but all the time I’m thinking: ‘They will fall down.’”

So, the title race is as follows. City, perennial winners – the favourites, except they might be about to fall down. Liverpool, resurgent – but maybe not quite resurgent enough. Arsenal, the coming force, but also the team with the most to prove. Four games left. Sit tight.