Back to grind for top two


Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will be spurring on Ryan Sessegnon and the other Spurs players as they bid to take all three points at the expense of second-placed Liverpool today. — Reuters

MANCHESTER City and Liverpool resume their bids for the Premier League title this weekend.

League leaders Manchester City were knocked out of the Uefa Champions League when they crashed to a 6-5 aggregate loss at the hands of Real Madrid – going down 3-1 in the semi-final second leg in Spain.

They actually led 5-3 on aggregate in the 90th minute, before bowing out in extra time.

They had been on the brink of a second successive final in Europe’s elite club competition.

After all that heartache one has to wonder whether Pep Guardiola can lift the spirits of his side well enough to beat visiting Newcastle United tomorrow.

Second-placed Liverpool will have been buoyed by their victory over Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals this week.

There will be a good measure of confidence spread across the Merseyside camp.

They too face a tricky league fixture when Tottenham Hotspur pull into Anfield today.

With four games to go and just one point separating the top two clubs, there will be much at stake in these matches this weekend.

Both squads know that a slip-up at this stage could prove fatal to their efforts of trying to win England’s most cherished football crown.

Guardiola will surely make a few changes to the line-up that went down in Madrid.

Questions remain about the fitness of Man City’s talisman Kevin De Bruyne and defender Kyle Walker.

The Belgian midfielder was withdrawn in the second-half at the Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday and his absence tomorrow might be missed.

Of course, without De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, who is having a fine season himself, could get a recall to the starting XI.

Walker, who has had injury concerns of his own, hobbled off in Madrid and he too may not make it against Newcastle.

The Magpies will be hoping to return to winning ways as they continue their turnaround in fortunes.

They crashed to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool at St James Park last weekend, but that was after a nice run of four wins in a row.

The Reds will be keen on picking up where they left off in the Premiership, but could find Spurs a difficult proposition to overcome.

Antonio Conte’s Tottenham have won five of their last seven Premier League matches, in which they only lost once – the Brentford glitch a fortnight ago.

Much of the limelight will fall on their star forwards Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.

When these two lads get going, they can cause all sorts of problems for the opposition – Liverpool included.

Leicester City were the latest to experience the force of this combination when they scored three goals between them to beat Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.

Jurgen Klopp might just tell his players to do what they love most when preparing for Spurs.

No doubt, much of the discussion will centre on the possibility of the Quadruple – more so now that they are through to the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League, and already have the League Cup in the trophy cabinet at Anfield.

When Liverpool are in full flight, they are by far the best team in the world.

If Spurs catch them in a mood like that, the Londoners will surely feel the wrath of a Reds outfit that is beginning to be compared with some of the greatest teams of the past.

Tottenham will be focused on upsetting the team on the cusp of history.

But despite all the hype, one gets the impression that both Man City and Liverpool will win this weekend and extend their battle for the title to another week.

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