SINGAPORE — Liverpool fans around the world will be feeling a sense of déjà vu this Sunday (22 May) as their club go into the final day of the English Premier League (EPL) season chasing leaders and champions Manchester City at the top of the table.
For the third time, Liverpool have to hope for them to seal victory and for City to fail to win in their respective last matches of the season in order to win the EPL title. Liverpool will host Wolves at Anfield while City will clash with Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium, with the Reds trailing just one point behind the leaders.
History does not favour Liverpool ahead of this Sunday’s clashes. And one person will be at the heart of yet another season-ending drama: former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who is the current manager of Aston Villa.
Gerrard's 'The Slip' nightmare
In the 2013-2014 season, Liverpool went into the final stretch with the fate of the title in their hands and were leading City…until “The Slip” by none other than Gerrard led to the unraveling of the Reds’ season.
During Liverpool’s crucial home match against Chelsea, Gerrard failed to control a pass to him and inexplicably fell. Demba Ba seized upon Gerrard's mistake to open the scoring for the Blues, who eventually won 2-0.
Rattled, Liverpool suffered another catastrophic setback in the penultimate match away to Crystal Palace. They surrendered what looked like a seemingly unassailable three-goal lead to let the Eagles level with three goals in the last 11 minutes.
With the 3-3 draw, and with City maintaining their winning streak, Liverpool knew that going into the last day of the season, they had to hope for Manuel Pellegrini’s men to slip up. City sealed the title with a two-point margin above Liverpool after beating West Ham United 2-0 as the Reds’ 2-1 win against Newcastle United proved futile.
Liverpool were again chasing City in the 2018-2019 season with one point behind Pep Guardiola’s men as they played their final matches. The Reds needed Brighton to do them a favour by at least drawing at home against City.
Once again, it was a case of so near yet so far for the Reds. While Jürgen Klopp’s men beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield, City steamrolled over Brighton 4-1. Astonishingly, Liverpool’s 97 points and just one loss in the whole season were not good enough for them to wrest the title away from City, who had lost four matches. The Reds’ seven draws versus City’s two draws were to prove crucial.
EPL-title winning scenarios
Will this Sunday be any different for Liverpool?
The odds don’t look good for the Reds once again. While they are fancied to prevail over Wolves, City are heavily tipped to beat Villa especially when Gerrard’s men had just played on Thursday in their 1-1 draw at home against Burnley.
With City on 90 points and Liverpool on 89 points, the scenarios are as follow:
1. Liverpool win, and they clinch the title if City fail to beat Villa.
2. Liverpool draw, and they clinch the title in the event of the extremely unlikely last scenario described below.
3. City win, and they clinch the title regardless of the outcome of Liverpool vs Wolves.
4. City draw, and they clinch the title if Liverpool fail to beat Wolves.
5. City lose, and they will almost certainly clinch the title if Liverpool fail to beat Wolves. In the event of Liverpool drawing, City and the Reds will be level on 90 points but Klopp’s team currently have a far inferior goal difference of minus six against their rivals.
The only chance of Liverpool winning the EPL in the last scenario? City lose by more than a six-goal margin to Villa, which is as likely as a unicorn playing kickabout with a flying pig. If that were to happen, City will inherit the unwelcome tag of “The Slip” from Gerrard.
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