By William Hill
4th January 2019
The Premier League has been short of a serious title race arguably since 2013/14 when Steven Gerrard’s famous slip was a memorable moment as Manchester City pipped Liverpool to the title by two points.
In the four seasons since, the winning margins have been eight points (Chelsea), 10 points (Leicester), seven points (Chelsea again) and 19 points (Man City).
This year’s gap is now four points following City’s 2-1 home success over Liverpool, with the Premier League betting shake-up seeing Pep Guardiola’s men shorten from 13/8 to 6/5 to claim back-to-back titles.
Liverpool remain favourites at 4/5 (from 8/15) after their first Premier League defeat of the season, but should Jurgen Klopp’s still be the market leaders?
Here are four reasons why the Citizens are the rightful favourites after 21 matches of the current campaign:
1) Been there, done it, got the T-shirt
Man City’s senior squad is creaking with players who have previous of winning the Premier League title.
The only player not part of last season’s successful effort was Riyad Mahrez, who was a pivotal figurehead in Leicester’s 2015/16 surprise championship challenge.
Liverpool currently only have two former Premier League winners in their ranks (Daniel Sturridge and James Milner). A higher number than this have previous suffered Premier League relegation (Xherdan Shaqiri, Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson).
2) The remaining fixture list
Based on equivalent fixtures from last season, Liverpool are currently up 15 points, while Man City are down three.
Should the results from the last campaign be repeated from here on in, Liverpool will finish on 90, while the Etihad outfit will get 97.
What’s more, City’s remaining fixtures look attractive in the sense that seven of their remaining eight matches against teams currently in the top half of the table are at the Etihad.
The exception is against neighbours Manchester United, with a trip to Old Trafford also still to come for Liverpool.
3) Klopp’s January blues
Should Liverpool slip up again in the coming weeks, then all of the momentum will certainly be with the defending champions.
The Reds face Brighton (a), Crystal Palace (h) and Leicester (h) in their remaining three January encounters and on paper this doesn’t seem especially troubling, despite Palace’s recent triumph at the Etihad.
However, Klopp’s recent results in the first month of the year have been disappointing.
In 25 matches in all competitions as Liverpool boss, Klopp has overseen just eight victories, alongside 10 defeats. Over a quarter of his defeats as Reds boss have arrived in January.
4) Record against title rivals
Over the last 10 seasons, the eventual champions have taken two points or more from the eventual runner-up on eight occasions. The two exceptions were Leicester and Man Utd in 2008/09.
In fact seven of the last 10 title winners beat the side that finished second at least once in the league term.
After the goalless draw at Anfield earlier this season, Liverpool have obviously only claimed one point of the Citizens in the current campaign.
Based on the last decade then, the Premier League title may be more likely to be returning to Manchester in May.