Manchester City took a huge step towards winning the Premier League title after their mid-week 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium.
They now need a draw against West Ham at home to win the title, and it feels that they will have too much firepower for the London side to handle.
Villa was really Liverpool’s last realistic hope of an upset as the Midland side have taken points off the top four teams this season.
But this time Villa held out for 60 minutes before two goals from Edin Dzeko and a goal from Stevan Jovetic followed by a brilliant individual effort from Yaya Toure sealed the win.
Liverpool will have to hope that two former players, striker Andy Carroll and winger Stewart Downing, can make an impact against City. On his day, Carroll can cause defences a lot of problems with his heading and goal-scoring ability. Downing has been in good form lately and will be looking to supply the crosses for Carroll to get on top of.
West Ham will be looking to play a direct game by getting the ball forward to Carroll to attack. If West Ham can get players around him then they will create chances.
City will be dominant in possession and with David Silva pulling the strings in midfield and Dzeko scoring goals City should go on and take the three points and the title.
Prediction: City home win
I heard that tickets for the Newcastle game at Anfield were selling for up to £2,500 each (US$4,240), with fans keen to be there to see Liverpool win their first title in 24 years.
It would require Manchester City to lose at home against West Ham and that’s not likely to happen.
In Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool have one of the best managers in Britain. The club has believed in his football philosophy and it has worked.
Liverpool do not have the financial resources of City or Chelsea but they have shown what can happen with a clear football direction, quality players and a belief in what they are doing.
Liverpool had the title in their hands but a 2-0 loss against Chelsea then the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace handed the initiative back to City and they have seized the opportunity.
Liverpool have rewarded the manager with a new contract through to 2018 and it will be interesting to see how he and the club evolve over the coming years.
Without the financial resources to compete with the top clubs in attracting the leading stars, finding the rough diamonds and developing them into quality players will be a key component in Liverpool staying in the title challenge.
Newcastle will be glad that the season is over, and would do well to take a leaf from the Liverpool management book and go back to basics. Manager Alan Pardew does not have the support of the fans, they need a core of local not foreign players to make crucial decisions about next season.
Liverpool at home will want to end their season with a win taking City all the way to the end.
Prediction – Liverpool home win
Tim Bredbury played for the Hong Kong team and is currently a coach
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