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Premier League Return: How Soon Can Liverpool Win the Title?

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Mind the gap

Liverpool are tantalisingly close to lifting the biggest prize in domestic football and the one trophy that has eluded them for the past three decades. The Reds have a gargantuan gap at the summit of the Premier League by a 25-point margin to nearest rivals Manchester City.

The reigning champions do have a game in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s side, but they certainly have an uphill battle if they want to retain the title for a third successive season. Not only do City have the 25-point gap to plug, but they also face a tougher test than normal when they meet Arsenal on 17th June.

The Gunners' patchy season so far has forced the arrival of the City boss' protege Mikel Arteta at the helm and they have shown glimpses of what they can achieve. Now, a defeat for Pep Guardiola’s Citizens will all but put the final nail in the coffin for their title defence, and leave the door wide open for Liverpool.

As for the Reds, should City slip to defeat, they will need just one more win to lift the title – and what better way for them to end their drought of a league than at the hands of their local and bitter rivals Everton.

We take a look at the unrealistic, realistic and ideal scenarios for Jurgen Klopp's men clinching the title and analyse whether Guardiola is still in with a shout.

The ideal scenario

While many Liverpool fans up and down the country will be hoping for City to end up on the wrong side of the scoreline against Arsenal, most will be expecting them to grab all three points and delay proceedings by one more game - they are 1/3 to beat Arsenal.

Should that be the case, by the time the Merseyside derby kicks off the advantage Liverpool will hold will be just 22 points, and with nine games remaining they will then need to claim victory from two of their remaining games.

Following on from their emphatic 5-2 derby win earlier on in the season, and their record in the fixture in most recent years the odds are certainly in the favour of Liverpool. If they repeat the feat that they did at Anfield, Liverpool will be back on a 25-point margin with eight games left.

City will then have a slim chance of keeping their title hopes alive should they overcome Sean Dyche’s Burnley, leaving the ball in Liverpool’s court once more as they face Crystal Palace.

Palace have certainly been a thorn in the side of Liverpool in the past when it has come to title deciders, and Reds fans will have the memories of their 3-3 drawback in 2014 at the back of their minds which ultimately ended their hopes.

Klopp will be looking to make amends for the hurt that draw cost the club with a victory, and if that is the case then the title race will be over.

Avoid any defeat and you win

Liverpool have no doubt played some exquisite football this season. The champions of Europe have proved Klopp’s positive energy and mentality has changed the face of the club and bred success that Reds fans have been craving for a number of years.

Up until their shock defeat at the hands of Watford, Liverpool were on course to smash the invincibles record set by Arsenal back in 2004. That setback has only delayed proceedings as far as the title race is concerned, but having tasted defeat once other teams will certainly have a bit more confidence when they face the Reds knowing that they can be beaten.

Thankfully for Kopites across the world we are at the point of the season where there are only a handful of games left to play. It is not unthinkable that Liverpool could suffer another loss before the season has run its course, but in the grand scheme of things the huge gap between themselves and Manchester City should realistically be enough to guide them to silverware.

At the very most Liverpool need just two wins from their remaining nine games to seal the Premier League, so while a defeat might dent morale amongst the players and fans, as long as the squad keep their focus there shouldn’t be too much worry for Liverpool if they do have the occasional loss.

ICYMI: Read the odds for Championship promotion to the Premier League right here!

Are City still in with a shot?

Football is a funny old game, and while the momentum and attention has very much been on Liverpool throughout the season, there is still that chance that the Reds could miss out on the title.

It is highly unlikely but still a possibility which needs to be considered as far as the title race is concerned, and that is for Guardiola to pull off the biggest magic trick in Premier League history.

City have been involved in their share of last-minute drama when it comes to league titles – I don’t think anyone needs reminding of undoubtedly the biggest goal Sergio Aguero has ever scored in his career.

If they were to win all of their remaining fixtures and Liverpool were inexplicably on the side of defeat in their last nine games, then the Premier League would be retained at the Etihad for another year.

For many fans and pundits though, the title seems very much in Liverpool’s hands – and as for the Reds fans themselves they will certainly be hoping to wrap it up sooner rather than later.

By Alan Faulkner