Liverpool took giant strides toward sealing their first top-flight crown since the 1989/90 campaign with a hard-fought victory over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, Martin Skrtel and Philippe Coutinho handed the Reds a 3-2 victory, sparking emotional scenes at the final whistle from skipper Steven Gerrard.
The 33-year-old broke down in tears as his side’s three points were confirmed by referee Mark Clattenburg, but he reinforced the need for players to remain calm as they enter the final stretch during a post-match interview with BBC Sport:
It's emotional but we need to stay calm as we still have four big games to come - but that meant so much, especially when they came back. That is probably the biggest statement we have made so far. That was the longest 90 minutes I have probably played in.
It felt like the clock was going backwards during parts of that game. We have got four cup games left. People said that was the biggest one was Manchester City but I disagree, the big one now is Norwich. Nothing is ours yet.
Liverpool are certainly in the driving seat heading into their remaining fixtures, but the Premier League can throw up all kinds of surprises. Let’s take a look at the table and the latest title odds after a thrilling weekend of action.
|West Ham United||33||10||7||16||37|
|West Bromwich Albion||33||6||5||12||33|
With Liverpool cementing their place at the top of the Premier League tree with victory over City, SkyBet (via Oddschecker.com) made Brendan Rodgers’ side the title favourites in their latest odds, as shown below:
The Merseyside club have now won 10 Premier League games in a row and are more than capable of making it 14 to claim a historic title. However, Chelsea may have something to say about that.
Who will win the Premier League?
The Blues travel to Anfield on April 27 knowing that a victory would give them the advantage over Liverpool at the top. But with City’s games in hand over both clubs, a win for Chelsea against the Reds would mean that the Premier League pendulum would swing the way of Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Liverpool’s record against the Premier League’s top sides will give them a lot of encouragement heading into their clash with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, though, as OptaJoe reported prior to City’s visit to Anfield:
4 - Liverpool have won all four home meetings with fellow members of the top seven this season, scoring 14 and conceding once. Fortress.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 13, 2014
All three sides face weaker opposition as we head into Week 35, with Chelsea welcoming Sunderland to Stamford Bridge, Manchester City playing host to West Brom and Liverpool heading to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City.
Facing the struggling Canaries after a gruelling battle with their title rivals will be welcomed by every Liverpool player, but none more so than Luis Suarez, who has an astounding record against Norwich, according to Match of the Day:
Luis Suarez has scored 11 goals in his last four league games against Norwich, with six of them coming from outside the box #MOTD— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) December 4, 2013
City and Chelsea, meanwhile, will also face teams with the threat of falling through the Premier League trap door looming large.
The Black Cats sit rock bottom of the Premier League with a miracle needed to escape the drop, while the Baggies are just three points adrift of the drop zone in 16th place.
While Mourinho may have written Chelsea out of the title race, anything can happen in the Premier League, and Manchester City fans won’t need reminding just how suddenly a title can be won.
We all remember Sergio Aguero’s last-second exploits back in 2011/12 in a two-horse race at the top but, with three teams now in the running, 2013/14 looks set to be the most exciting title-race climax in English football history.
Liverpool have the odds stacked in their favour thanks to their victory over Manchester City. If their form continues in the same vein, they’ll undoubtedly do justice to their favourites tag in May.