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Liverpool’s final seven matches that year were against: woeful Cardiff City, Newcastle United, and Huddersfield teams; a Southampton side only just taken over by Ralph Hasenhuttl; a Chelsea team in disarray at the end of Maurizio Sarri’s tenure; a Wolves team with nothing left to play for; and a strong Tottenham Hotspur, who were beaten by an injury-time own goal.

Man City played: very defensive teams Brighton, Cardiff, and Crystal Palace; safely mid-table Burnley and Leicester City; a free-falling Manchester United; and Spurs, whom they beat 1-0 in an edgy match.

Things look harder this time, so here’s where and how Liverpool and Man City may drop points in the weeks ahead…

Liverpool’s vulnerable to fast breaks

The biggest obstacle in Liverpool’s path is a home game against Tottenham on May 7. It might also be the final hurdle.

With so little on the line for their opponents, it seems unlikely that Aston Villa (a), Southampton (a), and Wolves (h) will put up much resistance in Liverpool’s final three matches – should Jurgen Klopp’s team have momentum by then.

Before the Spurs game, they ought to fairly easily beat a Man Utd team playing without any direction or motivation.

Everton at home looks particularly difficult, however.

Frank Lampard’s side have struggled consistently when asked to play adventurously by their new manager, but suddenly find focus when allowed to scrap from a deeper defensive position – as in the 1-0 win over Man Utd (37 per cent possession) or last-minute 1-0 defeat to Man City (31% possession)

The added motivation of the Merseyside derby means Everton can play a frustration game, packing the final third with players and throwing bodies on the line.

What’s more, in Richarlison and Anthony Gordon they have attackers who are better on the counter, capable of breaking Liverpool’s high line via the distribution of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Alex Iwobi.

agree that he hasn’t been playing as well as he can do, but let’s not forget that since the 29-year-old Egyptian joined Liverpool in 2017, he has set standards with his goalscoring numbers above anything we thought could be possible.

We are judging him against his own ridiculous record and the fact his statistics over the past two months are more ordinary does not change the fact he is capable of scoring remarkable goals that no-one else on the pitch can, whoever the opposition are.

That in itself is enough of a reason to pick him, but on top of that you have to remember the effect his mere presence will have on City.

Regardless of whether Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake or Oleksandr Zinchenko play at left-back for City this weekend, they would fear Salah at all times.

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They all love to get forward themselves but they know that, when they do, they are leaving the Premier League’s best goalscorer behind them. That is a very different dynamic to anyone else they could go up against in Liverpool’s team.

While Salah didn’t score at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, he still had a huge impact on the game, not least with his perfect pass for Sadio Mane to make it 2-2 at the start of the second half.

I am expecting more of the same this time, and it would not surprise me at all if Salah actually scores the winner, because he has done it so many times before.

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