Pep Guardiola says the competition at the top of the Premier League is so fierce that the title is likely to be decided on the final day of the season, and may even come down to goal difference.
Guardiola’s Manchester City are currently second in the table, three points behind Liverpool. But will leapfrog their rivals on goal difference if they secure a win at Everton on Wednesday.
Champions City have been reinstalled as favourites for the title by bookmakers after Liverpool stuttered to two draws in their last two matches. But Guardiola believes Jurgen Klopp’s team will push his side all the way.
He said: “The first message is to win the game and the second one is: if you can score, score, and if you can avoid conceding, do it, because maybe you could win the Premier League on goal difference.
“While we are not going to say to the guys today we have to win 25-0 – I never say that – first you have to win the game and then second try [to score], because it can happen [winning the title on goal difference].
“I’m pretty sure the winner will be [decided by] the last fixture or the last two. I’m sure of that.”
Following their trip to Goodison Park, City have a busy and varied fixture schedule for the rest of February.
Chelsea visit the Etihad Stadium in a Premier League clash on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League. While City also face the Blues in the Carabao Cup final. They also face Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. And Newport in the FA Cup fifth round.
Guardiola says the demands placed upon his side in February are “terrible”. And is already looking ahead to what he hopes will be a brighter March.
“When I was abroad – and before I came here – everyone talked about December,” said Guardiola. “After Boxing Day was finished and I saw the schedule [I] said, ‘but this is worse – even worse’. February is tougher than December.
“When you arrive in March, from my experience, the days are longer, your training sessions are in better conditions, the sun is here, you see the end of the season is closer, the pitch is in better conditions, you can take a coffee outside – and in that situation [if] you are in four competitions – wow, it’s an extra plus. Now you are realising we can do something special.
“But we are not, right now, in that position because this month is terrible in terms of every game is a final.”