I don’t think anyone in August of last year could have predicted the extraordinary title race that Manchester City and Liverpool have put on. For all of the 7 months since the season kicked off, these two sides have been engaged in a constant struggle for supremacy atop Europe’s finest soccer league, The Premier League. Through 34 weeks of hard-nosed, grimy, and gritty play, only 2 points separate these teams at the top of the table. Both sides have an aggressive, and offensive-minded style of play to win the ball back and counter-attack with ferocity, making their soccer some of the best to watch in all of Europe.
Now, why does any of this matter? Why should anyone care to even take a glimpse at what’s happening across the Atlantic ocean? Well for starters, the high levels of drama in a title race of this magnitude feeds that adrenaline filled frenzy of sports only comparable to March Madness. One slip up, one costly mistake for either side could spell the end of their hopes of bringing home a league title to their city. There aren’t a lot of goals to be had in a game of soccer, but that’s the most intriguing part of the sport. One goal can be the difference between a win, a draw, or a loss, and in a title race with a magnitude such as this one that can make all the difference. Each result bears a different amount of points; a win earns a team three points, one for a draw, and zero for a loss. For both sides, out of the total amount of games they have played (34 for Liverpool FC, and 33 for Manchester City FC) they average around 2.5 points per game. Those numbers are historic for several reasons, the first one being that no two teams have ever performed at such a higher ratio of points per game other than the Chelsea team of 2004/2005, and the Manchester City team of last year which racked up a centurions tally of 100 points. The margin for error for both teams over the next month is razor thin, which only raises the drama as each game passes.
Manchester City and Liverpool have never been historic rivals with one another, but this season has perpetuated them to be each other’s biggest challengers. Manchester City was recently purchased by an owner of a wealthy oil company, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Over the past several years, he has pumped in nearly 600 million dollars into the club, firmly establishing it as one of Europe’s greatest powerhouses. It now boasts a roster that is strong in depth, and certainly not lacking in the star power department. With top-bin players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling, Manchester City are on a mission to solidify themselves as one of, if not, the biggest club in the entire world. However, this year their competitors Liverpool have been one of the few clubs with the capability to combat that notion. They have in their possession a three-headed attacking monster of Salah, Mane, and Firmino that have combined for a total of 47 goals at the base of the Liverpool attack, a league-leading figure. This puts them firmly in a position finally clinch the title that Liverpool fans have been deprived of since the league was formed back in 1992. Years of coming close with club legends such as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, only to fall short time and time again have been the defining characteristic since the early 2000’s. For the greater part of this current decade, Liverpool has found itself on the lower end of the “Big Six” clubs in England, but this season has been a complete re-writing of the narrative. Will they finally clinch the title that should be associated with the stature of a club such as Liverpool FC? Or will the newly formed empire of oil-money infested Manchester City cap off a successful title defense? The action won’t get any more intense than it is right now.