Last season, the title race in the English Premier League went down to the final day, with Manchester City edging Liverpool by one point.
But is the title race this season over already – and this time in Liverpool’s favor – while things are much closer in the three other big European leagues of Spain, Italy and Germany?
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola suggested as much after his team relinquished a two-goal lead and fell 3-2 at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening in the UK.
The twice defending champion, City trails Liverpool by a staggering 14 points with one more game played.
And Guardiola’s side actually sits third behind surprise package Leicester City.
“The advantage is too big, yes,” Guardiola told BBC Radio, when asked, if the title race is over.
“It’s unrealistic to think about Liverpool. We think about Leicester,” Guardiola said. “We have the chance to recover second place. I know the quality of my team, but that’s the situation.”
Midfielder Bernardo Silva was slightly more optimistic but conceded winning a third straight title is now “very difficult.”
“It is a really bad situation for us. A frustrating first half of the season,” he told Amazon Prime. “Nobody expected us to be this far away from Liverpool at this halfway point. (But) we have to continue now.”
Big role for VAR
VAR played a significant role Friday, awarding a penalty to Manchester City in the first half after referee Martin Atkinson didn’t initially give it. Before then, City goalkeeper Ederson had already seen red for a foul outside his penalty box.
Raheem Sterling saw his penalty saved by Rui Patricio but VAR ordered the spot kick to be retaken after encroachment in the box.
Patricio stopped Sterling again, only for the English international to put in the rebound.
Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and in the 89th minute, Matt Doherty, scored in the second half for Wolves before Sterling was denied a hat-trick when his free kick struck the crossbar.
Liverpool hosts Wolves and Manchester City hosts Sheffield United on Sunday, while Leicester City beat West Ham 2-1 on the road Saturday as the Premier League’s busy Christmas period continued.
Tottenham missed a chance to move into the top four after a 2-2 draw at last-place Norwich, while Carlo Ancelotti made it two wins in two games as Everton manager thanks to a 2-1 result at Newcastle.