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As Man City near fourth Premier League title in five years, they are more than just Liverpool spoilers

 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — This season may be forever remembered for Liverpool's bid to win everything, but Manchester City do better than being cast as quadruple party-poopers.



Following Liverpool's draw with Tottenham Hotspur and City's 5-0 win over Newcastle United this weekend, Pep Guardiola's side need seven points from their last three games to win the title for the fourth time in the past five years. If they do - and with two weeks of the season remaining, it is still an "if" - it will only be a feat achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United earlier in the Premier League era. Should this be the case, it is a feat worthy of more than an asterisk at the bottom of Liverpool's quest for history.


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Jurgen Klopp's team have already made sure they play every game available to them this season - impressive in their own right - and may yet end the campaign with Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League trophies. If City can cross the line in the Premier League, however, they will confirm themselves as the dominant force in English football. Liverpool also could not consistently match their level of success, and later, Guardiola could not resist a dig in Merseyside's direction.


"Everybody in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone," the city manager said. "Of course because Liverpool have an incredible history in European competition - not in the Premier League because they have won one in 30 years - but that's not a problem.


"The situation is what it is. We just need to do nine points or maybe six, depending on what the next two games turn out to be in terms of goal difference, but now Wednesday is the real, real final for us.


"We're going to try to win there. Our fate is in our hands and it's important. We have to look at ourselves. With a point or three points, nothing has changed. We have to do it."


It is a testament to how quickly football can change that a game against Newcastle that was a test of City's mental strength after Real Madrid's Champions League exit could become an opportunity to get a hand on the Premier League trophy. Went. Guardiola spent his usual Friday news conference talking about the potential psychological scar left by a late surrender at the Bernabeu, but as it turned out, the best tonic was the Son Heung-min goal at Anfield.


Tottenham's 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday night took the pressure off Newcastle's Etihad tour, and a fixture that could have been awkward was negotiated with relative ease. When Chris Wood was given a free header from six yards, the visitors probably should have taken the lead, but it was the only fear during an otherwise comfortable afternoon. Raheem Sterling (2), Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden scored with goals, and with three games to play, City are three points clear of the top.


Flights back from Madrid on Thursday morning were filled with supporters worried that the chase experience in the Champions League could signal an explosion in the title race, but it was not until Sterling scored after 19 minutes. By this time the chants of "Champions, Champion" were reverberating all around. Etihad. It shouldn't be a problem to lift the mood ahead of Wednesday's visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers.


Wins at Molineux and West Ham United on Sunday and City will need a point from their final game against Aston Villa to be champions again. Not bad for a team that was about to break.


"What has this team done, do you have any doubts?" Guardiola asked. "It was a perfect afternoon. We've been doing it every three days for five years. If some people doubted us, they don't know this team. It's one of the best groups I've ever had in my life.



"Three points, nine points to play for, four goals ahead. Another final [against Wolves] on Wednesday. The gap between us and Liverpool is so tight and the goal difference could be there. It was important that We win


"Hopefully we can reach the final day of the season with Premier League destiny at an Aston Villa game. But before that we have incredibly tough games. We're going to try."


Guardiola says he will never recover from Madrid's disappointment. An inexplicable collapse in the Champions League semi-finals is a difficult thing to do, but another Premier League win - potentially a back-to-back title for the second time in five years - is more than just a consolation.


No one has come close to quadruple as Liverpool, but let's not forget that the city is also touching the distance of its own piece of history.


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