LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool have the chance to cut Manchester City’s Premier League lead, albeit briefly, to six points on Saturday as they continue their distant pursuit of the champions.
Despite his team winning their last four games, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says Manchester City will not be peering anxiously in their rear view mirror.
But a home game against relegation strugglers Norwich, a couple of hours before Manchester City play out-of-form Tottenham Hotspur, offers an opportunity just to dial up a little pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side.
Not that Klopp will have much faith in Tottenham throwing a spanner in the works of City’s well-oiled machine.
If Liverpool’s form is impressive, City’s is simply extraordinary, having won 14 of their last 15 league games and drawing the other. What is more, they looked unstoppable on Tuesday as they thrashed Sporting Lisbon 5-0 away to all but book their place in the last eight of the Champions League.
Liverpool also enjoyed an impressive 2-0 away win at Inter Milan on Wednesday and while Norwich are fighting for their Premier League lives, it is difficult to imagine Liverpool not chalking up a fifth straight league win on Saturday.
Norwich lost 4-0 against Manchester City last week despite matching the leaders in the first half and midfielder Billy Gilmour knows another huge test awaits at Anfield.
“We gave (City) a right test,” the Chelsea loanee said. The score doesn’t say that but at 1-0 at halftime we thought we had a chance to come back out and the early goal killed us.
“But we know at Anfield it will be a tough, tough test. We’ll go there with the same mindset and battle.”
Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte avoided a defeat in his first nine league games in charge after replacing Nuno Espirito Santo in November. But things have gone badly wrong.
After losing to Chelsea in the League Cup semi-finals, Tottenham have suffered three successive league defeats against Chelsea, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers — the last two the most damaging to their top-four prospects.
Conte has not experienced a run like that as a manager since he was manager of Italian club Atalanta in 2009 and with a trip to a rampant City side that run looks like getting worse.
Tottenham actually won the reverse fixture in August, one of only two defeats City have suffered this season.
While Tottenham have lost three in a row, Newcastle United have won their last three to escape the relegation zone and they will travel to West Ham United in Saturday’s early kickoff.
A win would see Newcastle climb to 15th, although West Ham have the incentive of reclaiming fourth spot from Manchester United if they take all three points.
While Liverpool are doing their best to keep the title race interesting, the battle for fourth spot and Champions League qualification, looks like going the distance.
United, who are fourth, are away at Leeds United on Sunday while Arsenal, who are sixth but with three games in hand over the two sides above them, host struggling Brentford on Saturday. Wolves, who have crept up to seventh and into contention for the top four, face Leicester City on Sunday.
Third-placed Chelsea, the newly-crowned world champions, return to domestic action with a game against Crystal Palace on Saturday with one eye on next week’s Champions League last 16 tie against French club Lille.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)