With champions Liverpool on the ropes Manchester City have the chance to knock Juergen Klopp’s side effectively out of the Premier League title race at Anfield on Sunday.
City are beginning to look unstoppable having won their last nine Premier League games while Liverpool’s midweek defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion has left them seven points adrift.
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Should City win on Sunday they would move 10 points clear of Liverpool having also played one game fewer and it is hard to imagine Klopp’s spluttering side being able to bridge that gap.
“I’m the manager of Liverpool and you always ask — as we were champions last year — and I have to say ‘oh my God, we want to be champions, yes we want it’”, Klopp said as he looked ahead to the clash with City in the aftermath of defeat by Brighton.
“But you need the games for it and you need the performances for it. And we don’t have them. That’s the truth as well.”
Klopp, whose side are in danger of losing three successive league games at home having gone unbeaten in the previous 68, stopped short of saying defeat by City would make it impossible to win the title, but the sentiment was clear.
“We have to fight for other things. We fight for three points,” the German, who hopes forward Sadio Mane will have recovered from injury and keeper Alisson from illness in time to face a rampant City, said.
A run of only two wins in their last eight league games has not only weakened Liverpool’s grip on the title, they could find themselves in a scrap just to finish in the top four, something unthinkable last season when they were in a league of their own.