City stumble raises prospect of another epic title duel

When a relentless Manchester City pipped Liverpool to claim the Premier League crown in 2019 it was widely-regarded as one of the most epic title races in top-flight history.

After a stunning plot twist in the latest round of fixtures, this season’s run-in has the potential to be every bit as compelling with City and Liverpool the protagonists again.

When Liverpool stumbled around Christmas, dropping seven points in three games, it looked for all the world as though Pep Guardiola’s City were running away with it.

Churning out win after win the champions opened a 12-point lead in January while Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was having to make do without forward duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane — both away at the African Cup of Nations.

Liverpool began their game struggling Norwich City on Saturday nine points adrift with a match in hand, but when they still trailed to Joel Matip’s fluke own goal with under half an hour left it appeared they were about to suffer a knockout blow.

Mane, Salah and Luis Diaz turned it around, however, and later in the day City were stunned by out-of-form Tottenham Hotspur, losing 3-2 at home — their first defeat since October ending a run of 14 wins and a draw in 15 games.

“It looks like we could have title race” chimed former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher in his role as Sky Sports pundit. Even with his red-tinted glasses on, he is right.

Liverpool, who have won their last eight games in all competitions, host Leeds United on Wednesday.

Win that and they will be three points behind City with both teams having 12 games left to play. – Reuters

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