It may not have been one of their most convincing performances of the season, but Saturday’s 1-0 victory away at Brighton was massive for Liverpool.
The Reds returned to winning ways at the Amex Stadium following back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Wolves in the Premier League and FA Cup, respectively.
Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot early in the second half, helping Liverpool to temporarily extend their lead over second-placed Man City to seven points.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will remain seven points clear ahead of next weekend’s Premier League fixtures if City lose against Wolves on Monday night.
The reigning champions only managed to draw 1-1 with Wolves at Molineux back in August, but it could well be a different story at the Etihad Stadium, where Pep Guardiola’s side beat Burton Albion 9-0 in the League Cup last week.
As things stand, though, Liverpool are the bookmakers favourites to win this season’s league title.
One man praying that won’t be the case is former United captain Gary Neville.
The Sky Sports pundit, like most United supporters, would just about prefer to see noisy neighbours City win the title rather than their fierce local rivals Liverpool. But, really, it’s a lose-lose situation for the Old Trafford faithful. Neither outcome is good.
Neville has consistently stated his belief that City will finish the season as champions, but he’s revealed his honest thoughts about the title race on his latest podcast.
“It’s going to be Liverpool or City - they’re well in front - I don’t know who’s going to win it,” he said.
“I said City publicly at the start of the season and I’ve always said City on Monday Night Football when I’ve been asked but privately to [Jamie] Carragher in the green room, I’ve been saying: ‘Your lot can win this. Your lot are capable of winning this - they look like a team that can do it.’
“And they can. We don’t know who’s going to win it, we haven’t a clue, it really looks like it’s 50/50 but we’ve got a title race on our hands and City have got to win on Monday night [v Wolves]. They have to win.”
So, there you have it. Even though Neville won’t admit it for some reason on TV, he genuinely believes Liverpool can win the title this season. It just hurts him to say it.
Neville, however, did concede that he can’t bring himself to cheer for Liverpool over City - even though some of his United-supporting mates are doing just that.
He added: “This is an interesting theory: do you want Manchester City to win back-to-back titles and begin a period of domination which back-to-back titles can start to feel like?
“Do you want Liverpool to win a title? A couple of friends of mine said a couple of weeks ago they wanted Liverpool to win it this year - and that’s the first time I’ve heard a Manchester United fan say they wanted Liverpool to win it over Manchester City because they felt it would be a one-off, and they felt Manchester City winning twice on the bounce, they could go on and then win three and four, and they felt it would be better if City were damaged - that Pep Guardiola won one in three years rather than two in three years, and Liverpool having their moment because they’re going to win one at some point.
“I sort of reflected on it briefly and wondered if they were talking correctly or not and then said ‘no, I still can’t accept it! Come on, Spurs!’”