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Liverpool could crown Manchester City as the new Premier League champions if they beat Manchester United on Sunday, provided City win their match at Crystal Palace 24 hours earlier.
United’s goalless draw with Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday means the Citizens are 10 points clear at the summit of the English top flight.
And if City beat Palace on Saturday (12.30pm), and Liverpool are victorious against their neighbours at Old Trafford the next day (4.30pm), they will then be uncatchable at the top of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s side are on the cusp of a third Premier League title in the past four seasons having seen their crown taken by rivals Liverpool last term.
City’s defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on June 25 saw Liverpool’s success made official, and Jurgen Klopp and co. could now return the favour.
Liverpool are desperate for victory at United due to the four-point gap to fourth-placed Chelsea, with their hopes of having Champions League football next season hanging by an increasingly thinner thread.
The Reds’ defence of their first title in 30 years has been a miserable one and the injury-hit Merseyside club trail City by 23 points after 33 matches.
And while United had hoped to emerge as the closest title rival to City, a sublime 21-match winning run across all competitions – which included 15 straight league victories – has had Guardiola’s charges in command of their own destiny for several months.
City slipped up to lose to Leeds earlier this month and briefly trailed to Aston Villa, sparking fleeting hope among the United fanbase that they might take the title duel into the final few games.
But the Citizens came from behind to beat Villa 2-1 and Guardiola admitted afterwards: “Losing today, the last games would have been dangerous because United are in top form.
“When you arrive in the last five games depending just on yourselves it’s a good credit. We know exactly what we need – play like today.
“After two defeats against Leeds and Chelsea [in the FA Cup semi-finals] we know how important it was.
“There was a lot of adversity, it was not the best of starts but we recovered and came back incredibly well, not just with the two goals but the way we played. It was a hugely important victory for us.”
He added to BBC Sport: “We are so close [to the title]. We need two more wins and one draw.”
Liverpool are winless away at Old Trafford since 2014 however, having only won at the home of their rivals twice in their last 20 meetings across all competitions stretching back to September 2004.
If City beat Palace but United then win or draw against Liverpool, they can be crowned champions by beating Chelsea at the Etihad on May 8.
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Guardiola’s charges have two legs of their Champions League semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain to contend with before then, though.
City face French champions PSG in the first leg in Paris on Wednesday night (8pm) ahead of their clash with Palace at Selhurst Park.
They are hoping to reach the Champions League final for the first time in their history, with this year’s showpiece clash hosted in Istanbul final on May 29.
There, they would face either Premier League rivals Chelsea, who beat them 1-0 at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend, or 13-time European Cup winners Real Madrid.
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