Newcastle United defeat Manchester City: Can Pep still pip Liverpool to the title?

A second successive Premier League title is slipping away from Pep Guardiola's clutches

Through a formidable attempt at the title seen by Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Manchester City have been left with no choice but to win every game, keeping closely behind their Merseyside rivals, with hopes of eventually leapfrogging them in future weeks. The consistency shown by Liverpool has been enough to keep them in pole position for the title, but Manchester City decreased the gap in beating Liverpool at the start of 2019, posing as the only side capable of defeating Liverpool in the league for the entire 2018/19 season so far.

A lot of Liverpool fans remain reluctant over whether or not to genuinely believe their club's chances of winning the title based on past experiences - most of all in the 2013/14 season where Liverpool were devastated in throwing away a three point lead with three games left to play - but they look more capable this season with Klopp at the helm. Even with a more recognised manager in charge and a significant injection of squad depth over the summer, Manchester City are assumed as being the more likely league champions, but their midweek fixture with Newcastle United showed a different side to the Citizens, as they went from winning 1-0 to losing 2-1.

The season originally started with all of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur looking worthy of being involved in a four-way title race, but with inconsistencies from Maurizio Sarri's change of philosophy at Stamford Bridge and a scattering of decisive injuries at White Hart Lane, it's been down to Manchester City and Liverpool to decide the winner of this year's Premier League campaign, and there are question marks over whether Manchester City can keep up with the current league leaders.

The road to the Premier League title

Resulting on the 12th May, the Premier League could still be decided when Liverpool host Wolves at Anfield and Manchester City play away to Brighton. There's a long way to go until we reach this point though, City playing thirteen other fixtures, including their current schedule, where they're set to play three Premier League games in the space of seven days. If this wasn't enough, the matches are difficult tests made up of Arsenal, Everton, and Chelsea. Pep Guardiola will see no issue with having to play out these fixtures after finding past consistency in last season's campaign as well as during immensely successful stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. There's no doubting how much of a test the coming weeks will be though, especially with Manchester United playing a part in how the season will end.

Adding yet another variable to how the season will play out, Manchester United are pitted with the task of playing both Manchester City and Liverpool before May. Liverpool fans have speculated on this especially, as they play their team first, leaving a fixture with their local derby rivals where they could even be gifted the option to decide who wins the title based on whether or not they choose to turn up against Manchester City. It would be fair to see that as a mere conspiracy theory, but based on the fluctuations this season, Liverpool fans have chosen to cover all options in hopes that they can finally seal a league title for the first time since 1990.

Aymeric Laporte France Athletic Bilbao Athletic Club Manchester City
Defender Aymeric Laporte has made the second-most appearances for Manchester City this season after goalkeeper Ederson.

There's a sense of pride towards Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez from Liverpool fans, as he previously led the Merseyside club to a Champions League and FA Cup before a number of moves resulted in him returning to the Premier League with Newcastle. Even after defeating Manchester City, they only find themselves as high as fourteenth in the table, and the win is even more astonishing after a lack of players and issues with owner Mike Ashley made the situation almost unbearable for Benitez to get past; whether Rafa will be quite as generous when he plays his former club at the start of May will be another question.

Klopp of the Premier League but no room for complacency

Jurgen Klopp's efforts at finally winning a Premier League title for Liverpool has been spectacular, helped through finally sealing the signing of a world-class goalkeeper in Alisson Becker, as well as bringing in further reinforcements through RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, Monaco defensive midfielder Fabinho, and Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri. They've been truly formidable to show progress since their Champions League final defeat last summer, but nobody expected them to be quite so solid, taking until their meeting with Manchester City in January before they saw their first league defeat.

Between Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Xherdan Shaqiri, they've had goals in abundance, but weathered Liverpool fans will put their key piece of the puzzle down to their defence, which has been vastly improved through Virgil van Dijk more than anyone else. Defensive stability hasn't been in attendance at Anfield since the partnership of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, or arguably even dating further back to when Sami Hyypia partnered Jamie Carragher. The Dutchman has conducted the back four in fine style, with him looking like the most crucial person in their starting eleven, and making any potential injury for the defender into a genuine panic, as it could be the one issue that ruins all hopes of finally clinching the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Premier League Champions League
Despite sitting top of the Premier League, Liverpool only look genuinely capable of winning the title if they take three points from every side they face.

This season has shown Jurgen Klopp to prioritise the Premier League and the Champions League over the League Cup and the FA Cup, leading to some criticism from those who see it as a disrespectful view of one of England's finest institutions. The truth of the matter is that he's aware of how important the Premier League title is, and he will stop at nothing to assure that it comes to Anfield in May. Whether he reinforces his squad before Thursday is another quandary that the German will have to deal with, but in aiming to defeat Leicester City at home on Wednesday night, they're given an opportunity to move seven points clear following Manchester City's error at St James' Park. Virgil van Dijk is rumoured to be out through illness and both Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold are doubts, so there's already a lot of tension around the red half of Merseyside as Liverpool look to capitalise.

Would Pep Guardiola ever consider focusing on other competitions?

Achieving two Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, three Bundesliga titles, a Premier League title, and eight domestic cups from all three countries he's managed in presents Pep Guardiola as a serial winner, and that's only from his time in management. Plenty of Premier League managers have been proven to disrespect the FA Cup over past weeks, with Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp being two of the main culprits, but Pep Guardiola manages to compete in every competition at his disposal without worrying about a need to prioritise one tournament over another.

The squad depth at Manchester City is sublime, catering to two perfectly capable starting elevens before even touching their reserve players, but other teams who are pushing for Premier League success could be hindered by lacking the same level of depth. Jurgen Klopp played a team primarily made of youngsters against Wolves in their FA Cup Third Round exit in January, but he also opted to loan Nathaniel Clyne out to Bournemouth and allow a further twelve players to leave last summer on loan or permanent deals, with only four incomings. The former Borussia Dortmund boss has put all his eggs in one basket, exiting the FA Cup in the previous round and leaving the Carabao Cup even earlier after playing a second string side against Chelsea back in September, but Pep Guardiola has clear intentions to push for wins at every opportunity.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City Phil Foden Carabao Cup FA Cup Premier League
It would be fair to say that Guardiola has been fighting for every piece of silverware this season.

There's absolutely no chance that Pep Guardiola would throw in the towel when it came to the title race, and he certainly wouldn't be the world-class manager he's hailed as being if he caved in so easily, but with Champions League odds indicating Manchester City as the favourite to win this season's tournament, the Carabao Cup final in February, and another opportunity in the form of the FA Cup, there could be a moment in future weeks where Pep Guardiola has to pick one piece of silverware over another, with the Champions League arguably being more important to him than the Premier League.


⚽️ GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 BET ⚽️
New customers only. First single & e/w bet only odds of 1/1 or greater. 3 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes are not included in returns. Free bets are only redeemable on football. Free bets are non-withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further t&cs apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
For new customers. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔸 BET £10 AND GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 🔸
New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Claim Bonus
⚽️ BET £10 & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! (MOBILE ONLY) ⚽️
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
Claim Bonus
⚽️ UP TO £50 MONEY BACK AS CASH IF ANY OF YOUR FIRST 5X £10 FOOTBALL BETS LOSE ⚽️
Place 5x£10 Sportsbook bets on any market at minimum odds of 2.0 (Evs), and get money back as Cash if it loses. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10 (up to £50 in total). Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion (Apple Pay excluded). T&Cs apply
Get Offer
🔷 GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £10 🔷
Full T&C’s Apply. New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
Claim Bonus
🟠 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟠
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
CLAIM HERE
🔴 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔴
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
✅ BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS ✅
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔹 GET £30 IN BONUSES WHEN YOU BET £5 🔹
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
✅ GET A FREE BET UP TO £35 + 10 FREE SPINS ✅
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free online casino spins at QuinnCasino. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
Claim Bonus
BET £5 & GET £30 IN BONUSES
18+ New Customers opt in, bet £5 & get 2x £10 Free Bets for set events (odds 2.00+) + £10, Slots Bonus, selected games, 35x wagering to withdraw max £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card Payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
🎉 BET £10 & GET £60 FREE BETS! 🎉
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🟢 UP TO £40 MONEY BACK AS BONUSES + A £10 CASINO BONUS 🟢
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's. #Ad
Claim Bonus
🔵 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS + ACCA REWARDS OF YOUR CHOICE! 🔵
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&C's Apply **18+. Choose either Boost or Insurance. Available for in-play/pre-match bets on selected sports. You cannot use specials, boosts, any free bet or any other promotion. A minimum of 5 selections and minimum odds of 1/5 per selection/leg to receive Acca Rewards. Minimum stake of £/€0.05. Max free bet refund of £/€20 per Acca for Insurance. Maximum bonus payout is €/£1,000 per Acca for boost. Free bets, cashed out or voided bets will not qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
Claim Bonus
🔵 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔵
18+ New UK & ROI Customers only. Min deposit £5. Min first £5 bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x 20 free bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excl. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! ⚫️
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus