The EPL title race between Liverpool (82 points, five matches remaining) and Man City (80 points, six matches remaining) is coming down to the wire.
The defending champions, who can regain top spot in the table on Sunday with a win over Crystal Palace, remain the betting favourites at -165 to win the title, while Liverpool is +135 according to My Top Sportsbooks.
The Reds moved into first place briefly on matchday 10, and then held onto top spot on from matchday 16 to matchday 28. However, two wins and 4 draws in late January and early February saw them slip to second, where they remain for all intents and purposes.
Liverpool has rebounded with four straight wins, but that hasn’t been enough to leapfrog the Citizens.
That’s because City has been on an absolute tear, winning nine straight and 13 of its last 14. The Citizens have taken 39 of the last 42 potential points to remain atop the table for each of the last four weeks.
There is a ray of light for Liverpool fans, though.
Looking at the schedule, Liverpool has it easier the rest of the way. Their remaining games come against:
- Chelsea, home: 3rd place, 66 points, +23 goal difference
- Cardiff City, away: 18th place, 28 points, -33 goal difference
- Huddersfield, home: 20th place, 14 points, -44 goal difference
- Newcastle, away: 15th place, 35 points, -12 goal difference
- Wolverhampton, home: 8th place, 47 points, +1 goal difference
Meanwhile, City finishes with:
- Crystal Palace, away: 12th place, 39 points, -4 goal difference
- Tottenham, home: 4th place, 64 points, +26 goal difference
- Man United, away: 6th place, 61 points, +18 goal difference
- Burnley, away: 14th place, 36 points, -20 goal difference
- Leicester, home: 7th place, 47 points, +2 goal difference
- Brighton, away: 16th place, 36 points, -14 goal difference
Synthesizing those three sets of statistics, it’s clear that Liverpool’s schedule is considerably easier over the next month.
Averages for Liverpool’s final five opponents
- place in table: 12.8
- points: 38.0
- goal difference: -13.0
Averages for Man City’s final six opponents
- place in table: 9.8
- points: 47.2
- goal difference: +1.3
The problem for Liverpool is that, even if they win all five of their remaining games, they need Man City to drop at least one point somewhere along the line just to force a potential neutral-site playoff. And City has not been amenable to dropping points lately.
While City’s schedule is daunting, their only difficult away match is the Manchester Derby, which will not be a true away match.
The Citizens, as mentioned, remain sizable favourites to win the 2018-19 title, and they deserve to be.