As Man City near fourth Premier League title in five years, they’re more than just Liverpool spoilers

MANCHESTER, England — Maybe this season will always be remembered for Liverpool’s bid to win everything, but Manchester City deserve better than to be cast as quadruple party-poopers.

After Liverpool’s draw with Tottenham Hotspur and City’s 5-0 win over Newcastle United this weekend, Pep Guardiola’s side need seven points from their last three games to win the title for the fourth time in the past five years. If they do it — and with two weeks of the season left, it’s still “if” — it would be a feat only previously achieved in the Premier League era by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Should it happen, it’s an achievement worthy of more than an asterisk at the bottom of Liverpool’s quest for history.

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Jurgen Klopp’s team have already ensured that they will play in every game available to them this season — impressive in itself — and could yet end the campaign with the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League trophies. If City can get over the line in the Premier League, though, they will confirm themselves as the dominant force in English football. Not even Liverpool can match their level of consistent success, and afterwards, Guardiola couldn’t resist a dig in the direction of Merseyside.

“Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone,” the City manager said. “Of course because Liverpool has an incredible history behind in European competition — not in Premier Leagues, because they’ve won one in 30 years — but it’s not a problem at all.

“The situation is what it is. We need to do nine points or maybe six right now, it depends what happens the next two games in terms of goal difference, but now Wednesday is the real, real final for us.”

“We are going to try to win there. Our destiny is in our hands and this is important. We have to look at ourselves. With one point or three points, nothing’s changed. We have to do it.”

It’s testament to how quickly football can change that a game against Newcastle that was meant to be a test of City’s mental strength following their heartbreaking Champions League exit to Real Madrid ended up being an opportunity to put one hand on the Premier League trophy. Guardiola spent his usual Friday news conference talking about the possible psychological scars left by the late capitulation at the Bernabeu, but as it turned out, the best tonic was a Son Heung-Min goal at Anfield.

Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday night eased the pressure ahead of Newcastle’s visit to the Etihad, and a fixture that could have been awkward was negotiated with relative ease. The visitors probably should have taken the lead when Chris Wood was presented with a free header six yards out, but it was the only scare during an otherwise comfortable afternoon. Raheem Sterling (2), Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden got the goals, and with three games to play, City are three points clear at the top.

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