Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'City Don't Need Liverpool Luck to Fight for Title'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'City Don't Need Liverpool Luck to Fight for Title'

Article excerpt

THIS title race has been the best for years, two Premier League thoroughbreds going full tilt for the finishing line.

City and Liverpool have pushed each other to unprecedented heights, both on course to rack up more points than any other side in English football history - apart from the Blues' Centurions of last season. But this incredible campaign has proved that City CAN repeat the dose - they have accrued 192 points over two seasons, with two games still to come.

That alone, regardless of whether they secure the results they need to make it back-to-back titles, shows that they have the durability to stay at a high level and possibly dominate in future seasons.

But the big question is whether Liverpool can do it all again, and they have some serious question marks. The biggest of them all is whether they can still perform to the same standard if, and when, they suffer injury difficulties.

A feature of their remarkable run of just one defeat all season has been an extraordinary amount of luck in terms of keeping their players fit all season.

Liverpool fans might argue that is not so much luck as having an excellent back-up medical staff. That is only true to an extent - even with the best backroom, injuries are part and parcel of the game.

And if you study the stats, Liverpool have been uncannily fortunate in avoiding injury.

Few would argue that the basis of their fine team are the front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmio City's four influential missed 41 between Stuart and Sadio Mane, plus centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

Between them, those four players have missed a grand total of four Premier League games through injury this season - and Salah and Van Dijk have not missed any at all.

They have had problems, of course, with Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez all out for significant spells.

But none of those players were irreplaceable in the way their top four stars are. …

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