Premier League Title Race: Will Klopp receive the dream Anfield farewell?

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Will Jurgen Klopp be fist pumping the crowd on his final game at Anfield?

In what could be the closest three-way title race for many years, Mike Norman analyses the 10 remaining league games for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, and gives his verdict on where each club will finish...

  • Liverpool worth backing at 11/53.20 to win title

  • Tough few weeks may define City's season

  • Gunners away games the stuff of nightmares

  • Fixtures and analysis for all three clubs


  • Down to the wire

    Just one point separates the three clubs at the top of the Premier League table with Arsenal ahead of Liverpool only on goal difference.

    Reigning champions Manchester City lurk closely behind and we look set for one of the greatest title races in recent years.

    # TEAM P W D L GF GA PTS xGF xGA xGD EXP FCST
    1 Arsenal
    34 24 5 5 82 26 77 0 0 0
    2 Liverpool
    33 22 8 3 75 32 74 0 0 0
    3 Man City
    32 22 7 3 76 32 73 0 0 0
    4 Aston Villa
    34 20 6 8 71 50 66 0 0 0
    5 Tottenham
    32 18 6 8 65 49 60 0 0 0
    6 Newcastle
    32 15 5 12 69 52 50 0 0 0
    7 Man Utd
    32 15 5 12 47 48 50 0 0 0
    8 West Ham
    34 13 9 12 54 63 48 0 0 0
    9 Chelsea
    32 13 8 11 61 57 47 0 0 0
    10 Brighton
    32 11 11 10 52 50 44 0 0 0
    11 Wolves
    33 12 7 14 46 53 43 0 0 0
    12 Fulham
    34 12 6 16 50 54 42 0 0 0
    13 Bournemouth
    33 11 9 13 48 60 42 0 0 0
    14 Crystal Palace
    33 9 9 15 42 56 36 0 0 0
    15 Brentford
    34 9 8 17 52 59 35 0 0 0
    16 Everton
    33 10 8 15 34 48 30 0 0 0
    17 Nottm Forest
    34 7 9 18 42 60 26 0 0 0
    18 Luton
    34 6 7 21 47 75 25 0 0 0
    19 Burnley
    34 5 8 21 37 69 23 0 0 0
    20 Sheff Utd
    33 3 7 23 31 88 16 0 0 0
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    So can the three clubs be separated with a view to backing one of them to win the title?

    It's no easy task, but there are some fascinating fixtures coming up with two of the title chasers facing each other next up, and all three having to face top four hopefuls Aston Villa and Tottenham between now and the end of the season.

    Could Europe play a part in the final outcome also? Who will have their eye on continental success, and who will have it more on domestic action?

    Whatever happen it's going to be an intriguing end to the Premier League campaign, and it might just be one that ends with one of the most charismatic managers to ever grace the competition leaving with his legacy secured.


    Manchester City - 11/102.11

    - 63 pts, 10 games remaining
    - Last 6 games: W-D-W-W-W-D

    Remaining Fixtures:

    *home games in bold (number in brackets = current league position)

    TBA = To be arranged

    MD 30: Arsenal (1)
    MD 31: Aston Villa (4)
    MD 32: Crystal Palace (14)
    MD 33: Luton Town (17)
    MD 34: Brighton (8)
    MD 35: Nottm Forest (18)
    MD 36: Wolves (9)
    MD 37: Fulham (12)
    MD 38: West Ham (7)
    TBA: Tottenham (5)

    - Average league position of teams to play: 9th-10th
    - Games against bottom half teams: 4

    Despite sitting third in the table, Manchester City, as they have been all season, are the favourites to win this season's Premier League title at 11/102.11 on the Betfair Sportsbook.

    Is that price justified? It probably is, but not because they have a far easier run-in than Liverpool or Arsenal, but more so that most people just believe they're the best club team in the world.

    And it's hard to argue against that. They are the reigning Club World Cup champions, have won the Premier League title for the last three seasons, and they are still well placed to defend their Champions League and FA Cup crowns.

    In other words, Pep Guardiola and his men know how to get across the finishing line.

    Domestically, City do have to play at least one more game than their title rivals - that being a FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea - and they have a very sizeable two-leg task against runaway La Liga leaders Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so April really is a pivotal month for the champions.

    City's next game against Premier League leaders Arsenal comes immediately after the international break, which isn't ideal for either side, and following that they host fourth-placed Aston Villa. So it's a tough few games for Guardiola's men, but with both matches being at the Etihad they'll be confident of taking all six points.

    If they do take all six points then that will be a huge blow to Liverpool, and especially to Arsenal who will fall at least two points behind the leaders.

    City then play the likes of Palace, Luton and Forest in three of their next four games, and their penultimate league game of the season is against a Fulham team that will have absolutely nothing to play for.

    Wolves and West Ham at home should result in wins also, so perhaps the only hope for fans of City's title rivals is a couple of tough-looking away games at Brighton and Tottenham. Note, City have never won at Spurs' new home in the league, in fact they've lost all four games without scoring a single goal.

    The caveat is that we don't know yet when that game will be played, but surely Tottenham will still be in the top four race at the time, which makes it a mouthwatering clash.

    Summary:

    Would I back Man City to win the Premier League title now at 11/102.11? I'd have to say no.

    Their next two games are huge, and you'd obviously have far more confidence about them retaining their title should they take all six points from those two matches.

    But with Liverpool extremely likely to win their next two games also (see below) City will still be behind the Reds in the table and they won't be that much shorter in the Winner market than their current odds of 11/102.11.

    And as well as thinking City will have a very tough game at Tottenham, I do worry about Guardiola's team selections for league matches close to the Real Madrid ties.

    Yes, they should still win those games, but away to Palace in particular won't be easy just days before a trip to the Bernabeu, and my gut feeling is that unlike his rival managers, Guardiola's main target this season will be to win the Champions League again.

    Verdict: 2nd


    Liverpool - 11/53.20

    - 64 pts, 10 games remaining
    - Last 6 games: L-W-W-W-W-D

    Remaining Fixtures:

    *home games in bold (number in brackets = current league position)

    GIH = Game in hand

    MD 30: Brighton (8)
    MD 31: Sheff United (20)
    MD 32: Man United (6)
    MD 33: Crystal Palace (14)
    MD 34: Fulham (12)
    GIH: Everton (16)
    MD 35: West Ham (7)
    MD 36: Tottenham (5)
    MD 37: Aston Villa (4)
    MD 38: Wolves (9)

    - Average league position of teams to play: 10th-11th
    - Games against bottom half teams: 4

    Liverpool currently sit second in the table on goal difference, but should they beat Brighton immediately after the international break then there's a good chance that they'll end the weekend top of the table and available to back at slightly shorter odds than the 11/53.20 currently on offer.

    And with Jurgen Klopp's men facing Sheffield United and Crystal Palace in their next two home league games, followed by games at bottom-half clubs Fulham and Everton, then the Reds have a massive chance to put a winning-run of games together.

    True, sandwiched between those five games mentioned is a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, which will come just a few weeks after losing to their arch rivals in the FA Cup quarter-final.

    But Klopp's men did more than enough to win that game, and with more players returning from injury, should they field a strong starting XI against Erik ten Hag's men I have no doubt they'll be good enough to take all three points.

    Of more concern for Liverpool fans and backers is their remaining four games of the season, with all of them being against clubs currently in the top half of the table, and three of those very likely to still be in the hunt to qualify for Europe next season.

    I'd fancy Klopp's men to win at West Ham however, and it's hard to back against the Reds at Anfield, so you would have to be quietly confident that they can take six points against Tottenham and Wolves.

    Aston Villa away will be tough, but a key factor here is the timing of that game. It comes on the penultimate weekend of the season and there's a chance that Villa will already know exactly where they'll end the campaign.

    If that's the case, then we all know how most teams with nothing to play for can perform. That's a big 'if' though.

    Summary:

    I think there's a massive chance that Liverpool will be quite a bit shorter in the Premier League Winner market than their current odds of 11/53.20 in the next few weeks.

    They have a terrific set of fixtures upcoming, with only Manchester United away looking tricky, but I'd be extremely confident of the Reds winning that one if close to full strength.

    The average league position of Liverpool's next six games is around 13th, and with Man City and Arsenal facing each other in that time, and both having to play top-four-chasing Aston Villa also, Klopp's men could be three or four points clear towards the end of April.

    Of course, Liverpool remain in Europe also, but with all due respect to the Italians, having to face Atalanta is much easier than facing Real Madrid or Bayern Munich and I really believe Klopp will rotate his squad for the Europa League games and concentrate fully on winning the Premier League title.

    Those final four games look tough on paper, but if Liverpool do go into them with at least a three-point cushion at the top of the table then I don't think they'll be caught.

    That famous Jurgen Klopp fist pump might just get one almighty send off from the Anfield faithful on what could be a memorable final day of the season.

    Verdict: 1st

    Back Liverpool to Win the Premier League @ 11/53.20

    Bet here

    Arsenal - 5/23.50

    - 64 pts, 10 games remaining
    - Last 6 games: W-W-W-W-W-W

    Remaining Fixtures:

    *home games in bold (number in brackets = current league position)

    GIH = Game in hand

    MD 30: Man City (3)
    MD 31: Luton Town (17)
    MD 32: Brighton (8)
    MD 33: Aston Villa (4)
    MD 34: Wolves (9)
    GIH: Chelsea (11)
    MD 35: Tottenham (5)
    MD 36: Bournemouth (13)
    MD 37: Man United (6)
    MD 38: Everton (16)

    - Average league position of teams to play: 9th-10th
    - Games against bottom half teams: 4

    No Premier League team is in better form than Arsenal right now and they deservedly sit top of the table with 10 games remaining.

    Yet it's quite easy to see why they are the outsiders of the trio of clubs in the title race at 5/23.50. And if I'm being honest, I'd have them quite a bit bigger than those odds.

    Mikel Arteta's men have been brilliant in winning eight league games on the spin with a quite remarkable 33 goals scored in the process. Any team scoring an average of at least four goals while winning shouldn't be taken lightly, that goes without saying.

    But while statistically - in terms of average league position of the clubs they have to play - Arsenal's run-in is no more difficult than Man City's, when you break it down it looks really tough.

    The Gunners have four games against bottom-half clubs remaining, and all of those are at the Emirates Stadium, so there's absolutely no reason why they shouldn't take 12 points from those games. Except that one of those clubs is Chelsea, and that might not be an easy game at all.

    Arsenal's remaining home game is against Aston Villa, right bang in the middle of a two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich. So again, it's no given that they'll collect three points.

    But now take a look at Arsenal's five remaining away games, and that's where the fear that they'll fall away for a second successive season really hits home.

    All five are against clubs in the top half of the table, one of those being away at Man City next Sunday. They'll also face trips to Brighton and Wolves at a time when both of those clubs are still heavily involved in trying to qualify for Europe next term.

    And then you've got a trip to Old Trafford and a North London Derby at Tottenham.

    It's an extremely tough set of away fixtures to end the campaign, and one that will likely see the Gunners' wait to win a Premier League title go on for another season at least.

    Summary:

    In a nutshell, Arsenal have by far the toughest set of away fixtures remaining and right now, I'd be steering well clear of the 5/23.50 on offer that they win the Premier League title.

    Those could easily be words that come back to haunt me but I have to admit, I'd be surprised if the Gunners win more than six league games from their remaining 10 fixtures, and that just won't be enough.

    As well as those tough away games they face a home match against Villa - who admittedly are in Europe themselves - at arguably the worst time possible - and we all know how good (and bad) Chelsea can be on their day.

    The Gunners have been brilliant in 2024, but I do feel that their great run of league form is about to come to an end and that they will ultimately fall five or six points short of winning the title.

    Verdict: 3rd


    Now read Premier League Top 4 Finish analysis here.


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