“Have got to believe”: Gary Neville gives Liverpool and Chelsea title race encouragement after respective wins

Gary Neville says he believes there is still life in Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Premier League title this season after their win over Crystal Palace.

Manchester City dropped points against Southampton, drawing 1-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium to give Jurgen Klopp’s Reds the chance to inch two points closer in the title race which is now a 9-point gap.

That’s thanks to a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace which has caused anger all across the UK and all over social media globally.

Roberto Firmino was offside directly before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored to make it 2-0 at Selhurst Park and claims have been made that Diogo Jota bought the penalty which was coolly converted by Fabinho to make it 3-1.

Fabinho Crystal Palace

It came during a period where the Reds were unable to keep the ball for very long and the Londoners were in the ascendancy but claims that the penalty won the game for Liverpool are well wide of the mark.

Liverpool now have one game in hand and are yet to place Man City at the Etihad so it is possible for the Anfield outfit to do the unthinkable and come from 12+ points behind to win the league this season.

That said, it’s going to require Jurgen Klopp to make perfect decisions nearly all the time, he’s going to need his key players to stay fit (particularly Thiago) and Liverpool are going to need more 50/50 decisions, like the Jota/Guaita penalty decision one, to go in their favour to catch Man City.

They’ve been incredible since the start of December but they’re not invincible and hopefully teams will have watched Southampton hold Pep Guardiola’s men to a draw and will have more belief that they can get a result too.

Kyle Walker Peters

They face Brentford, Norwich City and Spurs in their next three Premier League games and so I don’t expect any more gifts from those games but you never know what dropping points to Saints could do for their form.

“I think Liverpool are doing really well without two of their main players [Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane],” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.

“Things like [City’s 1-1 draw at Southampton] give a little bit of encouragement. City are a machine and you don’t expect them to make a lot of mistakes – but they could, and Liverpool and Chelsea have got to believe that.

“I’m not that disappointed in Liverpool because I think they have to be at full pelt all the time to get to City just because they haven’t got the squad that City have got.

“But I do think Chelsea have [the squad] and I expect it to get close. I don’t expect this runaway league; five weeks ago, we expected this three-horse race and we’ve almost been pushed into a feeling that City have won it.

Hakim Ziyech

“I don’t think we have got the three-horse race back this weekend through the fact that Chelsea and Liverpool have won and City have drawn, but I don’t think we are going to have that runaway 20-point championship that we have had sometimes with City.”

Who does Gary Neville believe will win the Premier League?

He continued: “It can happen. Liverpool have got it in them if they can keep that 11 together and get Sadio Mane and Mo Salah back flying, but this squad that Chelsea have got, if they can get Lukaku absolutely buzzing, bashing people around, backing into them and rolling them like he did in that last half-an-hour [in the 2-0 defeat of Tottenham], and starting to put the ball in the back of the net.

“There are so many inventive players you could play around him – so if they can just hit form between them, they can play three games a week because they can change two players every game and not really have a dip.

“Whether it’s Pulisic and Werner or Ziyech and Mount, you don’t see a massive dip in terms of quality when one plays or the other.

“If Thomas Tuchel can keep them all happy, I think they can have a really strong finish to the season, I really do.

“I think the quality in the Premier League this season is outstanding and it doesn’t deserve to have someone winning it by 15 points.”

As per usual, Liverpool winning any major trophies largely depends on the availability of key players because unlike Man City and Chelsea, Klopp doesn’t have a huge set of top players and the ability to sign more at will.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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