By 90Min
February 25, 2019

Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Sunday was highlighted as a major stumble in the Reds' bid to claim that first Premier League title that has so successfully evaded them since the competition's inception. 

It meant they had taken just six points from the last 12 available, allowing the seven point lead they held over Manchester City at the beginning of 2019 to slip to just one - with all games-in-hand present and accounted for. 

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In football, though, we're all guilty of allowing the distorted, short-term state of affairs to inform our wider perception. At this time of year, when half a season's worth of fixtures seem to be crammed into the space of a month or two, it's all too easy to have a short memory.

Looking at the bigger picture, the facts are as follows; after 27 games, Liverpool have lost just once, and are a point ahead of arguably the best league side in Premier League history. 

A dip in form - one that some argue signals a capitulation - culminated with a point at one of the most historically difficult grounds to play at, against a Manchester United side who had won every game but one since losing at Anfield back in December. 

Although the performance was disappointing, it would have been seen as a decent, scrappy point in virtually any other set of circumstances. With a formidable City outfit breathing down their necks, however, it was perceived to be a couple of rungs shy of a disaster for Jurgen Klopp's side. 

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That's because it's expected that, over the course of the next 11 games, City will blow Liverpool away. An expectation based entirely on the immediately recent form of both sides, with City scoring goals for fun and Liverpool faltering somewhat in comparison to their earlier fortunes. 

Less than three months ago, however, with the Reds playing at their best, you'd have said the exact opposite. 

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As things stand, both sides have had their stumbles. City lost three games out of four back in December, allowing Liverpool to take that commanding lead in the first place. After graciously returning the favour, though, all of course in the interests of fairness, it's the Anfield side who have a narrow advantage.

The point is this: while the form table snapshot shows one side in the ascendancy while the leaders 'bottle' it, the wider story of the season is one of two absolutely formidable groups of players barrelling towards a photo finish the likes of which we haven't seen in years. 

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Not to tempt fate, but it would take a pretty spectacular catastrophe from the Reds over the next dozen or so games to avoid that eventuality - and their performances, so far, suggest that is not likely. 

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