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I'm sorry to say it Liverpool fans - but Man City will be lifting the Premier League today

John Aldridge

THE script we have before us on the final day of the Premier League season is too good to be believed for Liverpool fans.

In fantasy land, Anfield icon Steven Gerrard will guide his Aston Villa side to a positive result against Manchester City and Liverpool will beat Wolves at Anfield to lift the title in a dramatic twist on the final day of the season.

Throw in the idea that a former Liverpool player, Philippe Coutinho or Danny Ings, scores the decisive goal for Villa and you have a story that would be better placed on the pages of a football comic from my schooldays.

Well, sorry to all our loyal Liverpool-loving readers who are looking forward today’s 4pm kick-off with hope in their hearts, but none of the above is going to happen.

I know Manchester City bottled it in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid a few weeks back and they will be under pressure to get the win they need to win the title.

Yet the reality is Villa are not good enough to stop them from winning – and probably winning by a wide margin at the Etihad Stadium today.

City and Liverpool are so far ahead of the rest of the Premier League teams right now that they are going to beat the also-rans 99 times out of 100.

As we have seen with City in recent weeks, they are hammering teams by four and five goals and even when they had a problem at West Ham last weekend, they still found a way to come back from 2-0 down to get a draw.

So I’d say there is only a very slim chance that City will slip up today and it would need the football fates to conspire against them.

They might have a player sent off or they could panic when the pressure is applied, but I don’t see any of that happening.

I’d expect City to score early on and cruise to a win against Villa, meaning Liverpool’s game against Wolves will be little more than a warm-up for next weekend’s Champions League final.

Even if the more realistic story I have outlined is what we have in store this afternoon, this is still a season to remember for Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team.

City are 19 points ahead of every Premier League team other than Liverpool this season and would have won the title by February if it were not for Klopp and team.

So their achievement of sticking with a side assembled with £1billion of oil-covered cash and with all the advantages that come with that can only be admired.

Throw in the reality that Liverpool already have the League Cup and FA Cup in the Anfield trophy room and are looking forward to another Champions League final next weekend and this is an incredible season for the Reds, whatever happens today.

Despite that, a part of me is disappointed to see the trophy that would have meant so much to Liverpool this season going back to their biggest rivals.

I’m surprised to be writing these words as I have always been so proud of my old club’s record of success in the Champions League, but this is one season where I’d have swapped a seventh European crown for the Premier League trophy.

I wrote in my Sunday World column last December that the title race was over, as City were so far ahead and Liverpool needed a miracle to get to the last day in this position.

Well, that prediction was wrong and Klopp head into the final game of the season today just one point behind City.

The quadruple is still on in late May and I’m sure Guardiola is sick to the back teeth of Klopp and Liverpool continuing to come at his team despite their dominance over everyone else in the Premier League.

When you roll the clock back a year and recall the slump Liverpool were in after injuries to so many of their defenders, what they have achieved this year is remarkable.

They needed a goal from keeper Alisson Becker to get them back into the Champions League for this season and I suggested big-name signings were needed to revive a flagging team.

Those signings were not forthcoming, but Klopp’s genius has been enough to get Liverpool back on track and they will break the 90-point barrier in the Premier League once again today if they beat Wolves.

They have not always been at their brilliant best in recent months and Mohamed Salah’s form remains a concern for me heading into the Champions League final.

Yet I look back on this Premier League campaign and there are so many things to admire.

Virgil van Dijk has come back from a massive injury and got back to his best instantly, the strength in depth in midfield is fantastic now and while their forwards have not always fired in unison, they have found a way to win time and again.

I suspect one of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will leave the club this summer and Salah is probably favourite to go as he continues to stall over his contract renewal.

Yet Liverpool have unearthed a star in Luis Diaz, they have youngsters coming through like Curtis Jones, who are going to be big stars and they have the best manager in the world guiding the ship.

Getting Klopp and his staff signed up to new contracts to continue their journey with Liverpool was probably the best news they could have had and it means that even if Salah goes this summer, I’d be confident they will replace him and kick on again next season.

The Premier League trophy will be presented to Manchester City at around 6pm this evening, but no one at Liverpool should shed a tear as the club have done everything possible to stop a side that continues to buy their way to success.

There will be some disappointment as the quadruple dream dies today, but all eyes will quickly switch to Paris and next weekend’s Champions League final, when Liverpool will be looking to lift the biggest prize in European football for the seventh time.

These are great days for Liverpool, so don’t feel too downhearted if your dreams of a title-winning party at Anfield fall a little flat today.

This team and this manager will be back snapping at City’s heels next season and the Premier League trophy will return to Anfield sooner rather than later.


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