Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City fell nine points behind leaders Liverpool following a 3-1 defeat at Anfield.
While their Remembrance Sunday encounter came too early in the campaign to be a title decider, losing to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds has made it a lot harder for Pep Guardiola to guide the Etihad outfit to a third consecutive league championship.
Man City swept all-comers aside last season with an unprecedented domestic treble. Liverpool pushed them all the way in the Premier League, though, and the decision not to strengthen defensively appears to be backfiring on Guardiola.
Former Citizens skipper and centre back Vincent Kompany was a guest pundit on Sky Sports’ coverage of this Super Sunday mega match. Not replacing the Belgian always had the potential to backfire when he left the Etihad to become player-manager at Anderlecht in his homeland and so it proved.
Guardiola is without first-choice central defender Aymeric Laporte for much of the campaign due to serious injury. Frailties at the back were exposed at Anfield – a ground where City haven’t won in 19 attempts across all competitions since 2003.
Early goals from Fabinho and Mo Salah on Merseyside left the visitors with a mountain to climb. When Sadio Mane also scored six minutes after half-time, Bernardo Silva’s strike proved nothing more than a consolation.
The upshot of that loss at Liverpool is Betfair’s exchanges have Man City odds on Premier League outright glory out at 12/5. Klopp and the Reds are now firm 4/11 favourites as they seek to end 30 years of hurt and waiting for a championship.
Arsenal kicked out for top four after flopping at Foxes
Elsewhere in the Premier League, a 2-0 reverse at Leicester City left Arsenal eight points adrift of the Champions League places. Poor recent form has increased the pressure on Gunners boss Unai Emery.
Arsenal were mainstays of the top four for many years under Arsene Wenger. It was only towards of his 22-year tenure that they slipped from that lofty perch and lost their seat at elite European football’s top table.
Emery has come under fire for some of his decisions, notably appointing Granit Xhaka as Gunners captain only to see that have disastrous results. The Switzerland midfielder has major doubts over his future at the club after reacting to boos from fans at the Emirates Stadium when being substituted.
On-field leadership has been an issue for Arsenal since pre-season. Previous skipper Laurent Koscielny forced a move back to his native France leaving Emery without a permanent captain.
He also froze Germay playmaker Mesut Ozil out of the Gunners’ first-team only to backtrack and start the 2014 World Cup winner in the loss at Leicester. As a result of the defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes, Arsenal are now 4/1 to make a top-four finish.
Although Emery believes he can close the gap on Man City, the Gunners are effectively three wins behind them because of poor goal difference. Arsenal could still sneak into the Champions League next season by winning the Europa League this term – a competition they reached the final of in the last campaign, only to lose 4-1 to Chelsea.