Can Manchester United Still Paint the City Red?

After Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City finally tasted defeat at the hands of Liverpool, we question whether this could have any impact on what seems a foregone conclusion of a title race.

Neutrals throughout the country jumped around their living rooms on Sunday, as Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah spectacularly lobbed City keeper Ederson to send the Reds 4-1 up. A late charge from the Citizens wasn’t enough, as Klopp’s men were able to close out a 4-3 victory and end Manchester City’s 22-game unbeaten run. One of the main talking points from a breathtaking 90 minutes, and what will give a small glimmer of hope to the chasing pack, is how easily Manchester City’s defence capitulated at 1-1, conceding three goals in the space of eight minutes.

Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are now on a 14 game unbeaten run in the Premier League, but sit 15 points from the summit. Image by OptaJoe via Twitter.

Pep Guardiola insisted after the game that the title race is far from over despite being 12 points clear of rivals Manchester United, who are now 50/1 with William Hill to lift their fourteenth Premier League title. The Spanish tactician will be aware that his City predecessors’ Premier League triumphs of 2011/12 and 2013/14 came from overturning eight-point and nine-point deficits, respectively. Although, it should be said that the Manchester United and Liverpool sides that lost those leads did not exert the same control of every game that this Citizens side does, at least not quite as consistently.

The Old Trafford-bound Alexis Sánchez will boost the Red Devils, who have let Henrikh Mkhitaryan go in the other direction. Sánchez has the ability to provide a game-winning moment in the blink of an eye and Jose Mourinho will hope he can make the difference in tight encounters, after seeing his team draw three league games on the spin at the end of December. If the Chile talisman can hit the ground running then his goals would be valuable.

Certain Manchester United fans are already donning Sánchez’s probable shirt number despite no official announcement from the club. Image by Amer Mourad via Twitter.

City refused to shake up their wage structure for the Chile international after coming close to a deal before Manchester United swooped. But Guardiola will still be looking to bolster his squad during the January window, as the recent injury to striker Gabriel Jesus could see him sidelined for up to three months. Consequently increasing the pressure on Sergio Agüero as the squad’s only recognised striker, a player who hasn’t had the greatest of records injury-wise himself. With City still present in all competitions, Agüero’s playing time will be supervised in the coming weeks and Pep could rotate him with Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva, as the head of a false nine.

A generous run of forthcoming fixtures could see City break further records and without a major injury to the likes of Sergio Agüero or playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, they are by far the favourites to lift the Premier League trophy. If there is one thing history tells us about Manchester United though, it is that they will fight until the very end.