KARACHI: The 27th round of the Premier League saw Liverpool further strengthen their bid for a top-four finish after their 2-1 triumph over defending champions Manchester City at Anfield.
Liverpool have raised their game immensely since their 3-0 loss to Manchester United in December, and are the form side in the Premier League, amassing 27 points since their loss at Old Trafford — 20 of which have come in 2015, the highest of any team.
With five wins and a lone draw — against Merseyside rivals Everton — in their last six games, the Reds have turned around the ship that had been predicted to sink at the start of the season. Manager Brendan Rodgers’ job had come under intense pressure but the Northern Irishman has since then worked wonders in once again getting the 18-times English champions competing with the Premier League’s elite.
The Gunners also bounced back from their 3-1 loss to Monaco in the Champions League, arguably one of their worst performances under Arsene Wenger, and ensured three points to reclaim third spot after Manchester United had leapfrogged them on Saturday.
Olivier Giroud made amends for a miserable European outing by firing in the opening goal in the 39th minute and Tomas Rosicky sealed the win in the 89th minute, ensuring that Wenger receives some respite after admitting that he had come under immense pressure after the loss to Monaco.
Manchester City lost further ground in their Premier League title defence as they were overpowered by a creative Liverpool side. Manuel Pellegrini’s men remain five points behind leaders Chelsea, but have now played a game more. Chelsea and Tottenham, meanwhile, were not in action as their Premier League matches were postponed due to their League Cup final clash — which Chelsea won 2-0 on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal’s men grinded three points against relegation-threatened Sunderland but once again put in an unconvincing performance, only to be bailed out by skipper Wayne Rooney’s brace. However, as long as the points keep coming, the Glazer family should have no issues in continuing with the former Barcelona and Netherlands boss for the time being.
Southampton’s unlikely bid for a Champions League spot received another major blow as the Saints succumbed to a 1-0 loss against West Brom on Saturday. It has now been three games since Ronald Koeman’s men have scored in the league and now sit four points behind fourth-placed United.
West Ham were quite buoyant at the start of the season and were convinced that they could qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history but three draws, a loss and a win in the last six games mean that their campaign has also been derailed.
Burnley, Aston Villa and Leicester City sit in the relegation zone, and although Leicester have a game in hand — against Chelsea — it is highly unlikely that the Foxes would pull off a miracle and escape relegation.
With only 12 more games to go, there is still all to play for, especially for the Champions League places and in the relegation battle.
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