MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Liverpool need a win and then a favour
After a sunny FA Cup final-Eurovision double on Saturday, the country wasn’t feeling up to much yesterday after the adrenaline ride that was experiencing a momentary topping of the charts and the subsequent maybe-they-don’t-hate-us-so-much-after-all reflection, so at least there were seven Premier League games to seek your teeth into.
'A shame Stevie can't play' - Klopp hoping for Gerrard help in title race
And on this laziest of days, the one thing that was working in overdrive was the updated table as the afternoon played out. Everywhere you looked there was the prospect for change, and after celebrating their second cup of the season, Liverpool fans will have been nervously watching the events at London Stadium unfold.
West Ham’s 2-0 lead had them dreaming that a goal difference swing at St Mary’s on Tuesday could put the title back in their hands, but after Manchester City salvaged a draw and what could be a vital point, even if Liverpool do manage to beat a side susceptible to losing 9-0 on the odd occasion or two, they still need a favour from Aston Villa on Sunday.
Yes, that means Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings, they're looking at you, with the ex-Liverpool trio all possibly having a say in a title race, although trying to get a result at City is quite the tough (near-impossible) assignment.
Villa have nothing to play for, but Liverpool will at least be grateful there is some emotional investment, and so we can expect Gerrard to face as many questions about his old side this week as he does his current.
The fact Villa have drawn just one of their last 12 games with City shows recent history is against them (do we mention the fact they haven’t won a league game at City since 2007 as well? Ah, we just have), but we’ve seen crazier things happen on the final day. Haven’t we? We have. We definitely have.
Although this would be right up there.
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- Opinion: Signing Kante would be another gamble for United, but Ten Hag should take it
It’s going to the final day
Two matters which are most certainly going down to the last day of the Premier League season are the races for the top four and to avoid relegation.
Irrespective of what goes on at St James’ Park, the fourth Champions League spot will not be decided until Sunday, although Arsenal can at least reclaim pole position from Tottenham if they get a win at Newcastle tonight.
Then you’ve got the battle to beat the drop, where Leeds’ standing of 17th with 35 points means guaranteed drama, as they will definitely be involved in a two-way tussle with Burnley, and maybe even three if Everton fail to win at home to Crystal Palace on Thursday.
That’s your lot for permutations. You’re welcome.
Chelsea do the double!
On a weekend of contrasting outcomes for Chelsea’s two senior sides, it ended on a positive note as the women’s team backed up their WSL triumph with an extra-time win over Manchester City to clinch the FA Cup in front of a record-breaking Wembley crowd.
That meant 49,094 were lucky enough to witness another Sam Kerr masterclass, with the Australian’s double coming a week after her magical volleys in the WSL finale.
It was a bitter pill for City to swallow, watching a clinical Kerr decide the game despite dominating possession and recording 23 shots to Chelsea’s nine.
City will bounce back, and are capable of sustaining a better title challenge next year, although that could well depend on whether Chelsea can improve themselves.
“Those women will go down in history," Chelsea’s manager Emma Hayes said, as the “best team” she has ever coached.
Hayes will hope, however, that the right areas are addressed to better help their cause on the Champions League front, and intriguingly she also dedicated the win to chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia for their efforts.
For the duo that will go down as a timely boost, particularly as prospective new owner Todd Boehly considers who stays and who goes during the summer reshuffle. Getting kudos from one of the club’s managers will do their chances of remaining no harm, should they want to of course.
IN OTHER NEWS
Thanks for the memories, Mark Noble. Granted, it’s difficult to pick one out if you’re not a Hammer, but what a player none the less.
A rare modern-day member of the one-man club (we ain’t counting his brief loan spells at Hull and Ipswich), and he even does the sweeping up afterwards. Proper ledge.
IN THE CHANNELS
In the spirit of selecting tweets from random accounts, there’s a lot to unpack from this one from Mr. tombateman000. (Thomas to his family, triple-oh to his mates.)
A Liverpool fan… wearing a Liverpool shirt and shorts (and maybe socks) with Salah 11 on the back… doing Ronaldo’s ‘Siu’ celebration… in a pub… during Liverpool’s penalty shootout win over Chelsea.
Blimey, make that twenty-three years to the day since Manchester United sealed the Premier League on the final day of the season thanks to Andy Cole and David Beckham.
Quite a good year for United, that...
Big night for Arsenal, who know that only three points at Newcastle will take them back above Spurs. There’s also the second leg of the Championship play-off semi-final between Huddersfield and Luton – it’s 1-1 after a draw at Luton last week.
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