Paul Stewart column: Manchester City and Liverpool serve up an absorbing Premier League title battle
Liverpool can do nothing more than hope Manchester City slip up as the Premier League title swung in their favour after beating their arch-rivals, Manchester United, 2-0 at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Liverpool must believe City will win their remaining games and feel that their only chance of silverware is the Champions League.
To do that they will have to overcome Barcelona, the Champions League and many neutrals’ favourites.
That is a mighty task for the Reds of Anfield and they will have to be at their best if they are to prevail.
I always thought that the fact City have been there, seen it and done it would be a major factor as we reach Sir Alex Ferguson’s proverbial ‘squeaky bum time.’
Liverpool, in all fairness, have kept the Blues on their toes by winning games and making sure City do not get a breather.
The top spot has now changed hands 28 times this season with the way the fixtures have fallen.
Liverpool have laid down the gauntlet every time of asking and City have answered.
One thing we all know is that, if City do win the race, it won’t just be handed to them on a plate; they face two away games against Burnley and Brighton, both of whom pose different challenges.
Burnley are resilient at Turf Moor, and after a shaky start to the season, have secured their Premier League status with games in hand.
Brighton, however, are fighting to keep their Premier League status and have struggled over the last few months after they started the season well, so City won’t see two teams lay down and hand them three points.
I think, if there is to be a twist in the tail, then the game against Burnley could be the one.
Sean Dyche’s teams are difficult to beat, are always hard-working, and make it very difficult for teams to get the ball down and play, which is what City do best.
For the neutral it would be great if it went down to the last game of the season and we get the excitement that we had when City beat QPR in the dying seconds with the Aguero goal denying United several years ago.
Whatever unfolds, I think we would all agree that the Premier League has proven yet again that it is the best league in the world.
It contains the best players from around the globe and never fails to deliver on all fronts.
We now sit back and watch two great coaches in Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp battle it out to the very end, pitting their wits against each other and possibly playing a few mind games in the media, trying to undo one another and gain that smallest of advantages that could see them claim the most difficult domestic competition to win in the world.
I wish both of my former teams the best of luck and it is great to see them both challenging for trophies on the biggest stage.
With another of my former sides, Spurs, in with a great chance of reaching the final of the Champions League, it’s a win-win-win situation in the Stewart household.
I’m looking forward to watching how it all unfolds in the coming weeks!