Brendan Rodgers will be over 30 miles from the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, but the Liverpool manager is still hoping his team can influence affairs in Manchester City. While the Citizens host West Ham United knowing a point will secure the club’s second league title in three years, Liverpool will be at Anfield, trying to get the three points from Newcastle that will make City’s result relevant.
On Saturday, Rodgers said he wants to do more than merely claim victory from the Magpies. With staff at the Etihad sure to have Anfield’s score in sight, Rodgers is hoping an early onslaught can put pressure on the leaders:
“It will be interesting if we make one of our quick starts and get up in the game. Then there’ll be a point when we’re up and City are drawing. It’s not nice when you know there’s another team playing that can win. When you know you have to not lose, it’s uncomfortable. It’s not over by any stretch of the imagination and West Ham are a really good defensive unit. Andy Carroll can score goals, they’ve got other players who can score goals and there will be a nervousness there.”
Early goals from Liverpool certainly can’t hurt, but given what City went through two years ago, the team’s unlikely to shaken by what happens at Anfield.
In 2011-12, Manchester City went into the final day knowing a home win against last place Queens Park Rangers would give the club its first Premier League title. As second place Manchester United won 1-0 at Sunderland, City was on the verge of handing the title to its rivals, trailing 2-1 in stoppage time to the 10-man Rangers. With goals in the 92nd (Edin Dezko) and 94th (Sergio Aguero) minutes, however, City completed one of the most important comebacks in Premier League history, winning the title as a result.
Nothing Liverpool can do will match the anxiety of being down at home, in stoppage time, to the league’s worst team, having given up the potential winner to a 10-man side … knowing that unless you scored twice in stoppage time, your crosstown rivals get the title.
Unless Liverpool makes up the teams’ entire goal difference (eight), nothing that happens at Anfield will phase Manchester City. They know what they need to do.