EPL

Neville warns title race is not over after Dias injury offers Liverpool hope

By Sports Desk May 08, 2022

Manchester City regaining the Premier League title is not a foregone conclusion yet, despite Pep Guardiola's side moving three points clear of Liverpool on Sunday.

That is according to Manchester United great Gary Neville, who believes the injury to centre-back Ruben Dias in City's 5-0 rout of Newcastle United offers hope to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham on Saturday, before a Raheem Sterling double inspired City to a comfortable victory the following day.

City furthered their advantage with three games to play and also boast a better goal difference than Liverpool, whose 64 is four fewer than Guardiola's side.

However, Neville – speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast – insisted the title race is not over yet as City face challenging trips to West Ham and Wolves, and a home clash with Aston Villa to secure the championship.

"I do believe Wolves or West Ham could shock Manchester City," he said. 

"With Ruben Dias injured, they are going to teams who have got systems of play that can hurt City. Both teams have had good seasons. They are awkward. City will need to be at their best.

"The centre-back partnership has been obliterated. The injury is a boost for Liverpool's chances. I do think there is something left in this title race. It won't go plain sailing to the end.

"If City get through the next two, they'll win it. Wolves or West Ham have to pull points off City but it's not over.

"If Liverpool had to pick two away games to send City to it probably would be Arsenal and Tottenham, but after that it would be West Ham and Wolves.

"Manchester United have gone and Chelsea have dropped their levels. There is a lot to play for. It's good for the league that Liverpool are playing first and can get level.

"I don't think Liverpool will drop points. They will do their job.

"Whoever finishes first or second you won't say the other one has blown it or bottled it. These two teams never disappoint with their work-rate or attitude. Being professional and preparing well is a permanent thing.

"These two teams do it so well. They care about their work, their attitude, their ethos. It's constant. Under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, it's been faultless."

At the other end of the table, Leeds United slipped into the relegation zone for the first time since October after their 2-1 loss to Arsenal and Everton's 2-1 win at Leicester City.

Neville acknowledged Jesse Marsch's Leeds are now the favourites to go down alongside Watford and Norwich City, especially after Luke Ayling's mindless dismissal meant he will miss the rest of the season.

"I fear for Leeds I really do," he added. "They are favourites to go down. Everything that could go wrong, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, the spirit and energy of the club, is not there. They are massive players. What Ayling has done will cost them.

"We'll see what happens. But we've got a title race, a good top-four race and a compelling yet awful relegation battle.

"The desperation of going down. And the financial loss is too great. That drop is enormous and a club is going to suffer it. We hear rumours of Burnley paying a £65million loan back, imagine the losses that Everton would suffer and there will be lots of losses at Leeds too.

"It's going to be awful. I've heard the difference between staying up and going down for a Premier League club is £120m of cash they'd have to put in if they didn't sell any players. It's not pocket change.

"That can't be right that the cliff edge is so steep. The fall is so big. But that's the Premier League."

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    The glitz and glamour of a Champions League final was far from Klopp's mind in that campaign when in his fourth season in charge of Mainz. The 2004-05 season was just as memorable for the German club's supporters as Liverpool's, though, as they finished 11th in what was their first top-flight campaign.

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