IT’S tight at the top for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp – with Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool separated only by goal difference.
Manchester City went back into first place for the first time this year after their 2-0 win over Everton yesterday.
Tottenham are also ready to pounce should BOTH City and Liverpool slip up.
It’s going to go right down to the wire and here, SunSport’s experts predict a winner.
DAVE KIDD – Manchester City
IT’S promising to be the most intriguing and close-run title race since the 2012 bottom-nipper which ended with Sergio Aguero’s 93rd-minute clincher in the final match of the season.
And my money is on City edging this one on goal difference again.
Liverpool have been excellent and to lose only once in 25 matches – an undeserved defeat at the Etihad – is some achievement for a club with a net transfer spend dwarfed by their Manchester rivals.
But man for man Pep Guardiola has better players at his disposal, especially in midfield, so I’m tipping City by the tightest of margins.
MARTIN BLACKBURN – Manchester City
I SAID Manchester City at the start of the season – and I’m sticking with them now.
The experience of Guardiola and senior players will be crucial over a tense last few months and they know how to get the job done.
My only concern is that their workload across four competitions could see them come unstuck in the league when you least expect it.
However, Liverpool are showing signs that they are feeling the strain right now.
That 29-year wait for a title at Anfield will be a huge millstone round their necks during the run in and injuries are starting to bite at just the wrong time.
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MARK IRWIN – Liverpool
THEY’RE sweating on Merseyside as the prospect of Liverpool finally ending their 29-year wait to be champions edges closer to reality.
Klopp has put together a formidable team which has developed the ability to keep grinding out results even when they are not at their best.
Back-to-back draws against Leicester and West Ham have raised questions that they are starting to hit the wall but they will get back into the groove at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.
City will push them all the way but fighting on four fronts will take its toll and they will pay the price for those recent defeats by Palace, Leicester and Newcastle.
As long as Liverpool avoid defeat at Old Trafford at the end of this month, I expect them to hold their nerve and stagger over the finishing line on the final day of the season.
NEIL CUSTIS – Manchester City
CITY will not just win it but do so comfortably with a cushion of around six points.
Clubs always look back to a game that proved the turning point in a title race and for me City will pinpoint the defeat at Newcastle.
That was the game that gave the team they kick they needed.
It reminded them of the strength in depth in the Premier League and what it takes to win a title – because these players should know.
This Liverpool team do not and the weight of history is bringing them down.
They fell at the final hurdle in 2013-14 and it is almost as if they cannot face going so close again and have decided to implode early this time.
MIKE McGRATH – Manchester City
PEP’S men will win the title because they have experienced winners right through their squad.
They have had their wobble and are back on track with points on the board and all the momentum heading into the final months of the season.
They should have brought in another goalkeeper as cover – but their need for back-up was not as great as Liverpool’s.
Klopp should have brought in defensive reinforcements and kept Nathaniel Clyne. City’s squad is stronger and has enough to keep putting the pressure on.
Outside those two, Spurs have performed a miracle to get this far but are expected to tire.
DAVID COVERDALE – Manchester City
CITY are back on top and that’s where I think they will stay.
Liverpool haven’t played well in 2019 and their defence, which was so solid at the start of the season, is looking dodgy again.
They have badly missed Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, while the decision to loan out Nathaniel Clyne has backfired.
Guardiola’s side have responded well to their slip-up at Newcastle last week and they have a stronger squad than the Reds.
They also know what it takes to win the title, while Liverpool will get jittery.
Tottenham will not be too far behind the top two but every time Spurs start being talked up as real contenders, they seem to drop points in the following game.
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TOM BARCLAY – Manchester City
FORMER boss Manuel Pellegrini said it would be tough for City to pip Liverpool because they are fighting on four fronts.
But I think they have the squad to manage it.
Kevin De Bruyne is arguably the Premier League’s best player and he has barely played all season. Riyad Mahrez has far more to give too.
Liverpool and Spurs have been fantastic but injuries will take their toll.
Klopp’s defence does not look as impenetrable as it did and Spurs cannot keep relying on late winners.
City have the experience, the squad depth, the manager and most of all the quality to become the first side to retain the title since their arch-rivals United did it a decade ago.
DAVID FACEY – Manchester City
CITY have that “here we go again” look of a team that is used to contending for titles – and winning them.
I fancy them to claim at least two more wins than Liverpool before the end of the campaign.
In the first half of the season the Reds were brilliant at squeezing one goal wins out of games they would probably have drawn – or lost – in previous years.
But the draws against Leicester and West Ham suggest they are starting to tighten up again. And it is not going to get any easier.
Considering the lack of investment, Spurs are punching above their weight. Third would be a good result.
CHARLIE WYETT – Manchester City
MAN CITY are now in pole position to win the title due to their momentum.
Even though Liverpool have that game in hand. Even though, remarkably, they have only lost once this season – to their title rivals.
The fact the Reds are proving difficult to beat is one reason why the title will go right to the wire.
City have the title experience which is an advantage – although Leicester were novices in that department three years ago and they did not do too badly.
But ultimately, City have the better squad and while I expect Liverpool to scrape past Bournemouth, the match at Manchester United on February 24 will give us an even better idea whether Klopp’s team are going to fall away completely.
PAUL JIGGINS – Manchester City
THE signs look ominous for Liverpool.
The lead they had over Manchester City has disappeared – and you feel with it have the Kop’s dream of a first Premier League title.
There are bound to be more twists and turns yet.
But I believe City’s winning experience will see them through in the end.
I would not be surprised if Guardiola’s men go on to win it by six points.
LIVERPOOL – 1
MAN CITY – 9
ON paper it looks pretty one-sided. But football matches and trophies aren’t won on paper.
Can Liverpool defy the odds and get back to winning ways and finally end their Premier League title drought?
Or will Man City overpower the Reds in the second half of the season?