Josh Barker: Why the Premier League title is now Liverpool’s to lose

Gameweek 30 of the 2023/24 Premier League season drew to a close on Sunday, March 31.

The action over the weekend has given us a major insight into who could go on and win the title this term.

Manchester City and Arsenal faced off at the Etihad Stadium, while Liverpool took on Brighton at Anfield.

Liverpool came away with a 2-1 win vs the Seagulls but Manchester City and Arsenal both dropped points as they played out a 0-0 draw.

This saw Liverpool knock Arsenal off the Premier League summit and earn a two-point cushion over the 2nd-place Gunners. Manchester City, meanwhile, sit 3rd in the division and three points off top spot with a five-worse goal difference than Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Now, with all three of the title challengers having nine games to go, Liverpool do look like clear favourites to win the league.

The Reds have been hampered by injury a great deal over the last few months but have still continued to produce results, losing just two games all season. And now, the likes of Andy Robertson, Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all expected to return in the next week or so.

This should give Liverpool a major boost going into the business end of the season, while Manchester City have just lost Nathan Ake for a while and Kyle Walker is expected to miss Man City’s next clash vs Aston Villa.

Speaking of upcoming games, a case can be made that Liverpool have perhaps the easiest run-in of the Premier League title-chasers.

In their remaining eight matches, Liverpool’s only ‘tough’ games come away to Manchester United, at home to Tottenham and away to Aston Villa.

The Red Devils have beaten Liverpool just once in their last five league meetings at Old Trafford, while Tottenham have picked up a win over Liverpool just once in their last 13 meetings – and they had some help from VAR in that victory.

Aston Villa may also be a tricky clash to navigate for Liverpool, but the Midlands outfit have only won one of their previous nine games versus Jurgen Klopp’s men.

As for Arsenal’s remaining Premier League fixtures, they play Luton Town on April 3 and Everton on the final day of the campaign but between those clashes, there are no games the north Londoners are really standout favourites in.

Manchester City, meanwhile, have a similar end to the season to Liverpool but even if they have a strong final two months, it is hard to see Pep Guardiola’s side catching the Merseysiders.

A three-point gap may not seem like much to overturn in nine games, but when looking at Liverpool’s remaining opponents, they are not expected to drop many, if any, points.

And even if they do, the Reds currently have a five-better goal difference than City, meaning unless the Manchester outfit start racking up some insane scorelines, Liverpool would have to drop points in two of their final nine games and Man City would have to win all of their remaining matches.

While this is possible on paper, the way Liverpool are playing with such a weak squad suggests it will not happen this season.

Pep Guardiola seemingly agrees after the weekend’s results, as he believes Liverpool are now leading the race to lift the trophy.

Asked if Liverpool are now favourites for the title, the Spaniard said post-Arsenal: “Yep. First is always favourite. Second is Arsenal.

“Third, we are. It’s not in our hands. Villa; next game, try to win it. It’s simple.”

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.