So it all comes down to this.
After Liverpool’s second string ground out a 2-1 win against Southampton on Tuesday, the Premier League title will come down to the final day for the ninth time.
The equation is simple: assuming leaders – and favourites – Manchester City don’t lose by a seven-goal margin, Liverpool need to beat Wolves, and hope City slip up. The opponents for Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad?
Aston Villa, led by probably Liverpool’s best ever player in Steven Gerrard, and led on the pitch by Philippe Coutinho, who became the third-most expensive player of all time when he moved to Barcelona after a brilliant spell at Anfield.
No little motivation, then, for the former Reds stars to upset City and deliver their erstwhile and beloved club a massive boost in their bid for the championship.
So, Sportsmail analyses whether Villa can win Liverpool the title, looking at both Coutinho’s impressive individual record against the Citizens and the Midlands side’s awful run against them.
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard (pictured left) will hope to deliver his beloved Liverpool the Premier League title by tripping up Manchester City in the final game of the season on Sunday
Gerrard recently completed the permanent signing of his former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho (left) and they are aiming to give Jurgen Klopp’s side a massive boost in the title race
Coutinho the man for the big occasion…
Coutinho has five career goals against City – only against Spanish side Sevilla has he scored more, with six.
He clearly loves playing City and is often the man for the big occasion. In the 2013-14 season, another tight title tussle between Liverpool and City, he scored in a 2-1 loss at the Etihad before coming up trumps at Anfield, scoring the winner in a 3-2 classic.
They eventually finished second, two points behind their rivals, but the brilliant Brazilian showed he was capable of delivering at the highest level.
The Brazilian star has five goals against City – only against Sevilla has he scored more, with six
One of those was a fine winner for Liverpool in a 3-2 win against City at Anfield in April 2014
The following year, he scored another Anfield winner against City with a scintillating 25-yard strike.
In 2015-16 he also netted in a 4-1 thrashing at the Etihad, plus an equaliser in the League Cup final – although he later missed a penalty in that game.
This season, however, the attacking midfielder has been somewhat of a flat-track bully, scoring twice against relegation-threatened Leeds and once against Southampton – a debut strike against Manchester United his only against a big club.
…but Villa haven’t beaten City for eight years
Engendering less optimism among Villa fans, however, is their recent record against Guardiola’s men.
Sure, not many tend to consistently outperform City, but Villa have only won one of their last 15 matches against them, including eight successive defeats in their last eight.
Villa held them to a 0-0 draw in November 2015, but that was their only point in the last 12 meetings, with their last win coming back on September 28, 2013.
Gerrard will hope the star Brazilian midfielder continues his fine record against the Citizens
But Villa’s recent record vs City is awful: eight losses in the last eight and just one win in 15
At that point, ‘Talk Dirty’ by Jason Derulo was top of the charts and the likes of Antonio Luna, Yacouba Sylla and Jordan Bowery were in Villa’s squad.
Their last win at the Etihad was in September 2012 in the League Cup, and their last Premier League win on City’s home turf was back on April 28, 2007.
Gerrard will say records are meant to be broken…
And Pep has a 100 per cent record against them
Guardiola has never tasted defeat against Villa. It’s six games, six wins for the Spaniard, with comfortable victories at home (2-0 and 3-0).
Conversely, three of the last four games have been close, with only one goal in it, including the last time the sides faced off.
At Villa Park in December last year, it took a fine individual effort from Ruben Dias, scoring on his weaker foot from outside the box, and a wonderful counter-attack with 10 men, finished off by a scorching volley from City magician Bernardo Silva.
Moreover City boss Pep Guardiola has a 100 per cent win record against Villa, six wins from six
Ollie Watkins made it 2-1 just after half-time and City had to endure a nervy second period.
City only just held on when goalkeeper Ederson made an ingenious reflex save to deny teenager Carney Chukwuemeka, which will give Gerrard massive belief they can pull off an upset on Sunday.
With a Thursday-Sunday turnaround, Coutinho could be rested for against Burnley, and play his first game as a permanent Villa player on the final day – and what a (second) debut it would be if he could come up trumps against City once again.