Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City sit 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Premier League at the moment. The order might change, but it is likely to remain the case in May.
Are Liverpool in a title race? For now, yes, though there is a lot still for Jürgen Klopp’s side to prove. For a large portion of their 4-3 win over Fulham, it looked like the Reds were demonstrating why it might fall just short of the level required.
But then Wataru Endō and Trent Alexander-Arnold popped up with two excellent late goals, showcasing why Liverpool might yet be a contender: even when they played poorly, they still had the character to win ugly.
It is clear that Klopp’s men will have to dramatically improve over the next few weeks if they are to linger at the top, but you can read the Fulham game whichever way you like.
Manchester City have already dropped 12 points this season. If they were to continue to pick up points at the same rate as they have so far, they would end the season on 81. While Pep Guardiola will expect his side to improve, it does show that the bar might not be quite as high this year to win the title as it has been previously.
That will benefit Arsenal, of course, but Liverpool too. While the Reds are still implementing the 2.0 version of their rebuild, a 95-ish points tally seems unattainable. Something in the mid-80s, though, could happen. They are currently on track for 84 with some difficult fixtures already out of the way.
“If Manchester City decide that they want to turn up and play at the level they can, at any point in the next two or three months, they will win the league,” Gary Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.
“They’ve got the best squad and they’ve got a manager that wins and wins and wins, so no one would be surprised if they are sat there at the end of the season at the top of the league.
“This is what I predicted when I said Arsenal would win the league: post-treble blues. You have reached utopia in football terms and it’s a mesmerizing height that they are never going to reach again probably. After that, how am I going to get going again? Sometimes you have to lose the league to feel the excitement to win it again.”
If Manchester City are set to have a slight off-season — and as well as the treble last year, it should not be forgotten that they too underwent a fairly substantial rebuild in the summer, losing key men and clutch goalscorers like İlkay Gündoğan and Riyad Mahrez — then Liverpool might be involved before it was expected to be. A three-way title race, for the first time in a long time, seems plausible.
“Liverpool have got Klopp, and that’s a factor because he can win and he has proven he can win,” Neville continued.
“Arsenal have got to get to the run-in, but they have to prove they can handle a run-in. Last year, they went under and didn’t have enough. They failed in every single sense in that run-in. If City are not at the level, someone else can take you over.”
Arsenal lead the way for now but there are question marks over the Gunners in the same way there are about Liverpool.
It still feels most likely that the side that finishes ahead of Manchester City will be the champion but it also feels possible that for once, that team might not have to be perfect. Liverpool just need to keep on finding ways to win.