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The three games which effectively finished this season’s title race – opinion

Runaway leaders Liverpool currently have a healthy 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League table and if you were a betting man, you certainly wouldn’t bet against them to win this season’s title. The Reds also have two games in hand, one of which is tonight against high-flying Sheffield United, where they have the chance to increase their gap to 13 points.

Yet there have been key games this campaign which have effectively handed the Reds the title and have been crucial in their satisfactory gap at the summit.

14th September – Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City 

The fifth game week of this Premier League season saw Liverpool make it five wins from five as they came from behind to beat Newcastle at Anfield. Later that day, the Champions crumbled to defeat against newcomers Norwich City, who now sit at the bottom of the Premier League table.

This result gave Liverpool an early five-point lead at the top of the table and although the Citizens followed this up with the 8-0 thrashing of Watford, the defeat to the Canaries shocked everyone and likely gave Liverpool the belief they needed to go on and make a statement of intent. The Reds also followed their win against Newcastle by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – another key result in their dominance of this season’s campaign.

Many would have thought the defeat to the Canaries would spur Pep’s side on yet they have since lost four times and this defeat was the first of some rather uninspiring performances from Guardiola’s side.

Saturday 5th October – Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City

A late stoppage-time penalty from James Milner saw Liverpool make it 17 consecutive wins in the Premier League as they increased their gap at the top to eight points – thanks to another defeat for Manchester City vs Wolves. Pep’s side were Liverpool’s closest challengers back in game week eight yet since then, Brendan Rodger’s side have overtaken the Champions to sit in second place.

This win for Jurgen Klopp’s side was a crucial one though and this told in the fiery scenes at the full-time whistle. The Foxes have been impressive this season and remain Liverpool’s closest title challengers yet since this win for Liverpool, the Foxes have suffered further losses to allow Liverpool to extend their gap at the top.

Klopp’s side displayed determination and fight and although the win for Liverpool was somewhat harsh on Leicester; to win the title you need a bit of luck and need to find a way to win and that is exactly what Liverpool did against the Foxes and they have hardly looked back since, as they look to make it a whole year since defeat in the league against the Blades tonight.

Sunday 10th November – Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City

After Liverpool’s win against the Champions, many wrote the season off already and this result arguably handed Liverpool the title. The Reds never truly looked in trouble in this fixture and cruised into a two-goal lead in the first 13 minutes. Sadio Mane added a third before Bernardo Silva pulled one back but this was all in vain as Liverpools commanding lead over City increased to nine points as Liverpool inflicted a third league defeat of the season on Pep’s side.

The two clubs don’t meet again until April and by time Liverpool travel to the Etihad the title could all but be in their hands. If they win both their games in hand they would be 17 points clear of Manchester City and even if Manchester City win all their remaining games, surely they won’t deny Liverpool their first Premier League title and looking back many will mark this game as the key one and one which ended this season’s race.

Eamon Kitching

Leicester City fan still holding onto our 15/16 Premier League success.

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