2021/22 Premier League goes to the wire: How Man City or Liverpool can win the title
Following Liverpool’s come-from-behind victory at Southampton on Tuesday, the 2021/22 Premier League season will now be decided on the final day.
Liverpool may have a historic quadruple in their sights after winning both EFL and FA Cups and the ‘Reds’ face Real Madrid in the Paris Champions League final next Saturday but manager Jurgen Klopp insisted that pressure is not a factor as his side prepare to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the Premier League season.
Liverpool must beat Wolves at home on Sunday and hope leaders Manchester City falter against Aston Villa to secure the league title.
The battle for supremacy between City and Liverpool has been a repeating storyline over recent seasons and the two sides go into the final weekend with Pep Guardiola’s champions one point ahead of their rivals on Merseyside.
And to illustrate just how evenly matched the sides are, City have amassed 355 points since the start of the 2018-19 season and Liverpool 354.
Guardiola will go one better than any club he has been at previously if he wins his fourth Premier League trophy when his City side take on Aston Villa.
The Spaniard has won three league championships in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City but will reach unchartered territory at the Etihad if his side get over the line and clinch their sixth Premier League title overall.
They top the standings on 90 points, with Klopp’s Liverpool, who finish at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, on 89. The situation has echoes of the 2018-19 season, when City pipped Liverpool to the title by a single point.
“We know what we have to do. Be ourselves and give everything we have to win the game,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
Any hope of former Liverpool great and current Villa boss Steven Gerrard doing his old side a favour in the title battle is dampened by the fact that City have won their previous six league games against the Midlands club. They have not lost to Villa since September 2013.
FA Cup winners Liverpool have a favourable home game against Wolves, who have not won in six games.
However, with the chances of City slipping up considered slim, Klopp’s players may have one eye on their Champions League final date against Real Madrid next weekend.
Klopp on pressure
“I cannot talk about pressure for the other team, but for us there is no pressure,” said Klopp, whose team will also contest the Champions League final against Real Madrid in a week’s time.
“We know that we have to win the football game but we’ve had that now for a while. It’s not about ‘what if’. We don’t have that... For us, it is pretty positive, it’s so special. And if you have something to lose it feels different, but we don’t have that.”
“Whatever happens on Sunday, we will not stop. We will not stop trying. Yes, we have the best opponent in world football, which is a bit of a shame, but they have us in their neck, which is not too cool as well. So let’s see.”
City are chasing a fourth league title in five years, while Liverpool are looking for their second since the 2019-20 season.
Premier League play-off final?
And there’s still a possibility - albeit very, very unlikely - that the 2021/22 Premier League season could be decided by a play-off game!
If City lose 6-0 to Villa and Liverpool play out a 5-5 draw with Wolves, then the title will go to a one-off fixture to decide who the 2021-22 champion is.
These are the only score lines would put Liverpool and Man City on equal points, goal difference, goals for and goals against in the table and provoke an unprecedented play-game as the teams are also tied on head-to-head, with both league encounters at Anfield and the Etihad ending in 2-2 draws.