DANNY MURPHY: Man City’s dramatic defeat by Tottenham underlines why the Premier League title isn’t handed out in February… both Pep Guardiola’s side and Liverpool would be worthy champions this season
- Manchester City were beaten 3-2 at home by Tottenham on Saturday night
- Many felt the Premier League title race was as good as over this season
- But City’s defeat shows their battle with Liverpool will go right down to the wire
- Both teams are so evenly matched a one-club procession was never on the cards
I received a bit of stick when I said last week that the title race wasn’t over. Some felt it was the Liverpool fan in me.
But Saturday’s swing underlines why you can’t hand out the Premier League prizes in January or February. Nobody carries on winning every week through a season. Only after 38 games do you get the proper perspective.
The truth is Manchester City and Liverpool are closely matched so a one-club procession was never on the cards. City have fantastic creators, Liverpool consistent goalscorers in Mo Salah and Diogo Jota. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are tremendously resilient and they showed it again fighting back from behind at Anfield without some regulars. Now it’s City’s turn to bounce back, and you would expect them to.
Manchester City were beaten 3-2 at home by Tottenham in a thriller on Saturday night
Either would be worthy champions. It promises to be a fascinating race and this weekend adds to the intrigue. City were unfortunate to face a Tottenham team who raised their game considerably. It was certainly Harry Kane’s best performance of the season and I can’t remember him ever playing better, not just scoring goals but his movement and link-up play too.
It reminded me of the time he dominated Real Madrid at Wembley in the Champions League.
There will be cynics who question why he’s turned up for a big match against City having struggled in other games, but you can’t turn it on and off as a player. Of course he would have been highly motivated, but that can’t be the only reason he was man of the match. Were City naive to push for the winner? I don’t think so. They have won a lot of trophies under Guardiola because they back themselves.
Many felt Pep Guardiola’s men were nailed on to win the Premier League this season
But Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will be celebrating as the title race will be going to the wire
Football has a habit of shifting both at the top and bottom. I remember Crystal Palace once losing their first seven matches. They stayed up comfortably.
So just as I did last week backing Liverpool to stay in the fight, one defeat won’t knock City for six. The biggest winners are the neutrals — they will be able to follow the ebb and flow all the way until May. I’d probably take Liverpool’s front five — Sadio Mane, Salah, Jota, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz — above City equivalents. But Liverpool don’t have the midfield riches of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri.
In goal and defence, both can call on world-class talent; Ederson, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Virgil van Dijk. No wonder it would be foolish to be certain one of these teams will dominate the other.
Put the meeting between them on April 9 into your diary. It will be huge.
Danny Murphy insists both City and Liverpool would be worthy champions this season
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