Arsenal and Man City both know truth about Liverpool after major Premier League twist in title race

Liverpool are two points clear at the top of the Premier League but the pressure is very much on Man City and Arsenal to deliver

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates at full-time following the Premier League match against Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on March 31 2024

Nine games to go, three teams involved, three points covering the contenders. Rarely has there been a championship tussle like it during the Premier League era.

At present, Liverpool lead the way by two points from Arsenal, with champions Manchester City – aiming for an unprecedented fourth successive title – a further point adrift.

But should the Reds now be regarded favourites to win a second league crown under Jurgen Klopp? Here our ECHO writers have their say…

Liverpool have made a habit of finishing the season strongly under Jurgen Klopp. Even when they laboured to their lowest-ever finish of a full campaign under him last term – when they ended it in fifth – a stirring run in the last few months almost landed them Champions League football.

The Reds went unbeaten in their final nine games in 2022/23, picking up 23 points from an available 27, while the previous year saw Klopp’s men collect the same total. That should be ominous to Arsenal and Manchester City, who are aiming to haul back the Premier League leaders while being two and three points behind respectively.

Three years ago a strong unbeaten finish in the final nine matches secured Champions League football and Liverpool won every game in 2019 to end their campaign as runners-up on 97 points. History, then, suggests Klopp’s players can last the pace.

Sunday’s trip to Manchester United will offer us more evidence as to whether Liverpool can do that once more but Thursday’s visit from rock-bottom Sheffield United affords an opportunity to rest one or two weary limbs without complacency setting in.

Trips to Aston Villa and Everton are huge, as is the visit from Tottenham later this month but with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all expected back in April, who says a Reds side who have risen to the top despite being decimated by injuries can’t now finish with a flourish?

It’s too tight to truly call but ask City and Arsenal which position they would prefer to be now and that might give you the answer here. Liverpool might not want to take ownership of it but it is their title to lose now. Make them favourites, bookmakers.

Ian Doyle – ‘Arsenal know they cannot blow it again’

Ask anyone for their title contenders at the start of the season, and the majority would have struggled to look beyond Manchester City and Arsenal. And most Liverpool fans would have settled for Champions League qualification and signs of obvious improvement after so much disappointment last term.

Nobody, though, could have expected that with barely seven weeks of the season remaining, the Reds would be clear at the summit.

It’s for that reason the pressure is very much not on Liverpool at present, even if winning the title would ensure a glorious end to Klopp’s nine-year reign. The emotional pull is with the Reds.

And consider this. City are aiming to create championship history and also complete a double treble, while Arsenal know they cannot blow it again after their catastrophic capitulation last season from a much stronger position than in which Liverpool find themselves right now.

As has been the case for most of the season, both City and Arsenal have fewer injury problems than the Reds and arguably have easier run-ins. More pertinently, the timing of the more difficult games favours the Gunners.

Does Klopp’s imminent exit mean Liverpool want it more? Not really. But it has heightened expectations. Still, they shouldn’t be as exalted as the ones on City and Arsenal.

Stephen Killen – ‘Liverpool not even meant to be there’

You never quite know with Liverpool Football Club. Jurgen Klopp has seemingly worked his miracles for the final time and now, mathematically speaking at least, the Premier League title is in the Reds’ hands.

But even with a two-point cushion ahead of the final nine games of the season, there is still an element of doubt surrounding the credibility of their title charge. Liverpool have defied expectations, after last season’s dismal showing, and are back to where they so often battled.

Manchester City and Arsenal have been resounding favourites for the entire season and now there’s a sudden change of direction. One cannot be fooled by this classic case of mind games from the two teams after battling for the top-flight crown last term.

Liverpool may have quietly risen but they do not hold that ‘favourites’ tag – they’re not even meant to be here. City have the resources and quality at their disposal. The Reds can continue as they are, going about their business as usual. There is nothing to see there – yet.

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