Manchester City and Liverpool's PL title dream in Steven Gerrard's hands?
- Aston Villa faces Liverpool next in the Premier League
- Villa faces Manchester City in the last game of the season
- City is at the top of the PL table, with Liverpool in second, and a three point gap between them
Aston Villa coach and former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard goes up against Jurgen Klopp and company in the upcoming Premier League fixture, in a game that may well decide who the title winner will be in the fiercely competitive season.
However, Gerrard has refused to address this, saying "My job is to win games for Aston Villa. In terms of Liverpool, the season is over 38 games so if you want the headlines that says 'Steven Gerrard says he's going to stop Liverpool' I'm not going there for you unfortunately", Liverpool Echo reported.
However, heading into the match, the 41-year-old is more than aware that Liverpool need the three points from a possible win if they wish to close the gap between themselves and current table toppers, Manchester City.
The Merseyside club's 1-1 draw with Antonio Conte's Tottenham Hotspur and City's 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle put some distance between the title contenders, after a long period of Liverpool trailing City by a mere point.
"[The title] is a little bit more difficult for Liverpool. They went into the Tottenham game to try and win it but I was still emotional from my own game at Burnley", he continued.
If Gerrard's side manages an upset for Liverpool, the latter could well be out of the PL title race. Memories of the last season's 7-2 plummeting must arise, as the Dean Smith-managed Villa beat the champions with Ollie Watkins scoring a hattrick. Watkins is likely to start in the May 11 fixture too, and former Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho is also expected to be part of the lineup.
However, Gerrard, who spent 17 years in Liverpool, recognizes the terrific form of Klopp's side and has hailed it as the best form of the club he's seen. Aston Villa will need to put up a "perfect performance" to walk away with a win, as per Gerrard.
He said "We are aware of the challenge, you either fear that or you try to take it on and find situations where you can have your moments in the game. It’s exciting, I’m looking forward to it, big games of football are what it’s all about."
The way the PL games are set up, Aston Villa's final fixture is an away match against Pep Guardiola's City. Thus, a Villa win in the final fixture could also alter the current reality of the PL race, especially if they lose to Liverpool in the next game.
Gerrard referenced this, saying "The way the fixtures have fallen we can have a say in the title race, that's how it is."
While much is left to chance, Klopp himself believes that the PL is out of Liverpool's hands, as the 54-year-old doesn't see City dropping points. Guardiola has taken a swipe at Liverpool's PL record too.
Moreover, City will be doubly determined to win the title considering they've crashed out of the Champions League semi-finals, losing on an aggregate of 6-5 across two fixtures to Real Madrid. Liverpool, meanwhile, will face Madrid in the CL final in Paris.