Liverpool will play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final match of the Premier League season on Sunday 12th May at 3 pm BST, knowing that they have to win but also that, even if they do see off the challenge of the visitors, it will not be enough to give them a first title in 29 years.
That is because Manchester City’s narrow win over Leicester City on Monday night means that they are in pole position to claim back-to-back titles. They play away at Brighton at the same time, and with the South Coast side now safe from relegation and with nothing to play for, it is hard to see them slipping up.
It is safe to say Liverpool are more motivated than any team in Europe judging by their performances in the league and the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp’s men defeated Messi’s Barcelona on Tuesday night in what will be remembered as one of the most memorable Champions League nights. The Reds did the impossible by overcoming a three goal deficit suffered at Camp Nou. The Anfield faithful were loud and proud during the 90 minutes where their team gave everything. The mighty Catalans had no answer to the relentless pressing of the English giants.
Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were at the heart of their attack and the absence of season striker Roberto Firmino was not felt at all. The Brazilian forward has been struggling with injury for several weeks, and he has now been joined by Mo Salah, who was carried off in their last league match at Newcastle.
In virtually every respect, Liverpool have had an excellent season. They have lost just once in the League, away to City at the end of December, and, if they do beat Wolves, they will finish on 97 points, which in most years would have seen them crowned Champions by some distance. Unfortunately for them, since losing at Newcastle in January, City have won all their league fixtures, and are set to pip them to the title by a single point.
Wolves have enjoyed an excellent first season back in the Premier League after six seasons in the Championship. They are already assured of a 7th place finish and the accolade of being the “best of the rest”. And, if Manchester City can emulate their ladies and lift the FA Cup, then they will also gain entry to the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
Their biggest disappointment came in the FA Cup. Leading their semi-final against Watford by two goals to nil, with 12 minutes left, they were pegged back and eventually lost in extra time. Still they have bounced back well from that setback, and have won their last three games, beating Arsenal and Fulham at Molineux, and getting their revenge on Watford at Vicarage Road.
Liverpool are odds-on favourite for this match at 1/3 whilst Wolves are 11/1. The draw is priced at 23/5. Liverpool are likely to win but, sadly for them, that is not going to be enough.