The Premier League table is looking mighty attractive if you're a fan of the Merseyside teams.
Liverpool nabbed top spot from Chelsea with their 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham, capitalising on the Blues' 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace the day before. Arsenal and Manchester City's 1-1 draw failed to help either side, giving Everton a real chance of making the Champions League.
The Toffees can catch Arsenal in fourth, while Manuel Pellegrini's men need a faultless run if they are to topple Brendan Rodgers' high-flying leaders.
Let's take a look at the current standings and updated title odds after Matchday 32.
|Premier League Table After Matchday 32|
|11||West Ham United||31||9||7||15||34||41||-7||34|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||31||5||14||12||36||48||-12||29|
The recent round of fixtures is likely to prove pivotal when we look back at this season. Significant points were dropped and gained by the top four, forcing Sky Bet to update their title odds. Two clear favourites are emerging in the shape of City and Liverpool, as we can see below:
|Premier League Title Odds, March 31, 2014.|
Crucially, City's draw with Arsenal means they will only be two points ahead of Liverpool if the Etihad club grab six points from their two games in hand (home ties against Sunderland and Aston Villa). Rodgers' team host City before either of these matches take place and can legitimately go one point clear if they win.
Liverpool's season will be defined by their ability to beat both City and Chelsea in front of the Kop. The upcoming away trip to West Ham is sure to be tricky, but remaining matches against Norwich, Palace and Newcastle are stacked in their favour. City's toughest tests—aside from the Anfield trip—come during the home tie against Southampton and the away fixture at Everton.
Jake Humphrey of BT Sport signalled the importance of every remaining fixture for Liverpool:
The top four's remaining matches can be seen below:
|Premier League Top Four: Remaining Fixtures|
|33||West Ham (A)||Southampton (A)||Stoke (H)||Everton (A)|
|34||Manchester City (H)||Liverpool (A), Sunderland (H)||Swansea (A)||West Ham (H)|
|35||Norwich (A)||West Brom (H), Crystal Palace (A)||Sunderland (H)||Hull (A)|
|36||Chelsea (H)||Everton (A)||Liverpool (A)||Newcastle (H)|
|37||Crystal Palace (A)||Aston Villa (H)||Norwich (H)||West Brom (H)|
|38||Newcastle (H)||West Ham (H)||Cardiff (A)||Norwich (A)|
Arsenal's inability to beat City all but ends their hopes of winning the title, as highlighted by their 125-1 odds. Although it once appeared Arsene Wenger's squad were destined to emerge triumphant this season, it's the same old story for the Gunners, who have wilted during a hectic schedule across the last two months.
Chelsea's away form threatens to overrule their unbeaten home form. Losses to Villa and Palace ensure Jose Mourinho's team are no longer favourites to land the Premier League trophy. The Portuguese manager will need to engineer three points when they journey to Liverpool, much like they did during the recent away trip to the Etihad.
As we approach the final run of games, there's no denying this is the most exciting title race in years. Three teams have a real chance of ending the season as champions, but the edge must be given to Liverpool right now.
Rodgers will be thanking his lucky stars that his side's toughest fixtures remain at home. This advantage could be vital as we head toward squeaky-bum time for each of the competitors.
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