MANCHESTER (AFP): Liverpool and Manchester City are embroiled in another tense fight for the Premier League title with both sides having aspirations of multiple trophy-winning seasons in the final few months of the campaign.
City appeared to be cruising towards a fourth Premier League title in five seasons when a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in mid-January took them 13 points clear at the top and 14 ahead of Liverpool.
Two months on, the gap is down to one point as Liverpool have made full use of two games in hand and a few rare slip-ups from the champions to set up another fascinating title race between two of the best sides the English football has ever known.
Pep Guardiola s reign in Manchester and Jurgen Klopp s revival of sleeping giant in Liverpool have consistently seen the record books re-written in recent years.
– Record breakers –
Between them City and Liverpool have lifted the last four Premier League titles and at least one has reached three of the last four Champions League finals.
Three years ago a historic title race was also decided by a solitary point as City s 98 held off Liverpool s 97.
Those points tallies have only ever been bettered in English football history by City s 100 in the previous 2017/18 season and Liverpool s 99 in 2019/20 as they ended a 30-year wait to win a league title.
“I know the only chance we have is to win an incredible amount of games because our opponents do,” said Klopp after Liverpool s ninth consecutive league win at Arsenal on Wednesday.
“In the last few years we ve pushed each other on insane levels.”
The feeling is mutual with former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola hailing Liverpool “the toughest opponent I have ever faced in my 13 years as a manager.”
Quadruple v treble
Rather than record points tallies, it is history-making trophy hauls that both sides have their eye on this season.
Liverpool have already ended City s four-year hold on the League Cup to claim the first silverware of the season.
Both sides are also in FA Cup quarter-final action on Sunday as City travel to Southampton and Liverpool face Nottingham Forest.
However, it is the balancing act of two legs of a Champions League quarter-final either side of a potential title decider when they meet at the Etihad on April 10 that could make the difference.
Friday s draw for the latter stages of the Champions League kept the sides apart until at least the final.
But it was Liverpool who got the kinder draw for the last eight as they face Benfica, while City take on Atletico Madrid.
After establishing an era of domestic dominance, City s priority has to be on ending their quest to be crowned European champions.
“In the Premier League right now, we are leading. Right now, today, the destiny is in our hands,” said Guardiola on Friday.
“Everyone knows what we (have to) do. It is a marvellous challenge. We try to do it.”
No side has ever won a quadruple of Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season.
Only Manchester United in 1998/1999 have managed the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.
However, both sides have proven capable of breaking the barriers of what seemed possible in recent seasons.
There is every chance their paths will cross again in Paris for the Champions League final on May 28 with either a quadruple or treble on the line.