Liverpool and Manchester City prepare for epic season finale

Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling

Are you not entertained?

It’s going right to the end, isn’t it?

We haven’t had a title race this close since the 2013/14 when it went to the final day between… Liverpool and Manchester City.

There’s something different about this Liverpool team, though. While Brendan Rodgers’ attacking juggernaut was overflowing with creativity and lethal finishing, Klopp’s team displays a gladiator-like fighting spirit and a refusal to give in. Marrying just the right amount of technical ability with bucketloads full of courage, Klopp may just have got the mix right.

At the back, Liverpool have Alisson, a goalkeeper who still gets the nerves going when the ball is at his feet but is undoubtedly one of the best stoppers in the Premier League. And this is just his first season in English football. At 26, the Brazilian number one should have plenty of his best years still to come in the game.

Virgil van Dijk is the rock on which the rest of Liverpool’s spine sits. His presence has also helped the development of those youngsters around him. Players such as Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold have come on leaps and bounds in the last 18 months, thanks largely to the presence of Van Dijk.

20 goals conceded in 34 Premier League games means Liverpool’s defence is the best in Europe’s top leagues this season. This confirms the astounding transformation of a Liverpool backline that was a running joke before Van Dijk’s arrival to a far more solid unit now.

Midfield has been a problem area for Klopp with the German boss failing to ever fully settle on his first-choice trio. Yes, there’s definitely a “horses for courses” benefit to having such options in the centre of the park but it’s never felt like Klopp, or anyone, knows what The Reds’ best midfield selection actually is.

However, in last week’s 2-0 Champions League win over FC Porto, Klopp went with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita in the centre. It worked very, very well. Klopp was so impressed he kept the same starting trio in the middle for Sunday’s fantastic 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Up front, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane continue to form one of the most-feared striking forces in European football.

Liverpool certainly don’t have the strength-in-depth at their disposal that Pep Guardiola’s City squad has. Yet, they continue to defy the odds and refuse to go away. One defeat in 34 league games this season and a win rate of over 76% are stats that simply speak for themselves.

Sunday’s win over Chelsea was Liverpool’s last fixture against another top-six side while Manchester City still have to face Spurs next weekend and Manchester United at Old Trafford after that.

There will be more twists in this tale and whatever happens Liverpool and Manchester City have given us a Premier League season to remember. Just how dramatic the finale is will determine how long that memory lives on.

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