Man City have the opportunity to extend their lead on Liverpool at the top of the table on Saturday for the first time since February 12.
Having seen Liverpool move top of the table after thrashing Manchester United on Tuesday night, Jürgen Klopp had no interest in tuning in to see if his side would stay there or not 24 hours later when Man City hosted Brighton.
The Reds have grown accustomed to going first as the two sides exchange blows in recent weeks, laying down a marker to Guardiola’s men as they closed down as much as a 14-point deficit back in January. By doing so, they have been able to pile on the pressure. A City draw with Southampton had already seen Liverpool close the gap to nine points within a few weeks. Still, it wasn’t until the reigning champions lost to Tottenham Hotspur on February 19 that the title race was stripped of ‘one-horse race’ status to reduce it further to six points. With Liverpool currently on a 13-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, City watched on as the Reds won 10 league matches in a row as winter turned to spring to narrow the gap at the top. And when Guardiola’s men found themselves playing after Klopp’s side each week, it added pressure on their shoulders.
In truth, they have handled such pressure admirably, with a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace last month the only time they have dropped points, before their 2-2 stalemate with Liverpool at the Etihad, since losing to Spurs. But it has left them little room to manoeuvre as we enter the business end of the season.