To suggest Liverpool enjoy playing Norwich would be an understatement. The Reds have scored five goals in each of their last three league meetings with the relegation-threatened Canaries.
Luis Suarez in particular loves banging goals past the Norfolk side, scoring two hat-tricks, and bagging an astonishing four-goal haul against them in December. Norwich need the points to stay up, but this contest is only expected to end with one outcome.
This is the big one, perhaps the biggest match Anfield has seen since the Reds’ last title triumph over 20 years ago. A win for Liverpool virtually seals the title, eliminating Chelsea in the process, but Jose Mourinho will surely not allow that to happen. He got his tactics perfect when Chelsea travelled to Manchester City and will sense the opportunity to wrangle their title chances back from Liverpool.
Crystal Palace A
Liverpool need to gain maximum points from every one of their final four games, but Palace will aim to make this task as difficult as possible. Selhurst Park will be rocking under the Monday night lights as Palace look to shut-out their free-scoring opponents. Liverpool’s forward line has been unstoppable this season, and while Palace have kept plenty of clean sheets, the Reds should be too strong.
Brendan Rodgers will preach the same mentality in each of Liverpool’s games with the possible exception of Chelsea – win at all costs! To remain in with a chance of the title, Liverpool must win at least three of their final four games, and Newcastle at home could be the day Anfield has been waiting years for. It either ends in triumph or in dismay on May 11.
2nd Chelsea – P34, Pts 75
Chelsea simply don’t lose at Stamford Bridge, and haven’t done once under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League. The Blues should take advantage of Sunderland’s lowly position, and the fact that the Black Cats will have played on Wednesday, to record another victory. That is, unless former Blues favourite Gus Poyet has other intentions.
As it is for Liverpool, the game is a must-win for Chelsea. A draw or defeat will probably give Liverpool – a team they have developed a fierce rivalry with since Mourinho’s arrival in England – the title and simultaneously end their own dreams. Anything but victory is unsatisfactory as it gives City the chance to close in.
Anfield will be rocking, but Mourinho has previous when it comes to spoiling the party.
Depending on the Liverpool game the previous week, Chelsea could be right back in the title frame. A trip to Norwich will hardly daunt the Chelsea players, but
involvement in the Champions League, plus the fact Norwich will be battling for everything could be the only hindrances to Mourinho’s side.
Their opponents could already be relegated by this point, and Chelsea will be in no mood for sentiment. The West Londoners dispatched Wigan 8-0 en route to the title
in 2009/10, and could be similarly ruthless should they remain a candidate. A point for Cardiff under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could gift the title to either Liverpool or Man City, a nightmare for the former United striker.
3rd Man City – P33, Pts 70
West Brom H
City welcome another of the strugglers to the Etihad as a scarred West Brom side look to avoid yet more heartbreak. Against a feeble defence, City should tear the
Baggies apart having learnt not to take one of the relegation fodder for granted, as they did Sunderland on Wednesday.
Crystal Palace A
Liverpool’s game with Chelsea will have ended by the time City kick-off at Selhurst Park, and their players will be well aware of the permutations. A win against one
of last season’s promoted clubs is expected of a team like City, no matter how difficult Pulis and co make it. Palace have a poor record against the top teams this season, with just solitary wins over Chelsea and Everton, and will surely be unable to cope with City’s plethora of world-class attacking players.
The trip to Goodison Park will be the most difficult of City’s final few games, with both teams needing the win. Everton have been attractive to watch this season,
with Roberto Martinez preferring a possession-based attacking style of play. City’s defence has been weak at times this season, and with the game resembling a cup tie more than a league game, a high-scoring encounter is predicted.
Aston Villa H
By the time this fixture comes around, Villa could be in deep trouble. Their slide towards the bottom of the table has been rapid in recent weeks, and currently have problems behind the scenes. City will want revenge though for their defeat at Villa Park earlier in the season.
West Ham H
City’s fourth home game in their last six could be their toughest with West Ham likely to play an uncompromising style. At the Etihad, however, and with the possibility of City having gained confidence from recent home games, they should again be too strong for a side in the bottom half. Whether the Premier League trophy is there to greet them at the end is something harder to predict.
With City losing their cool at home to Sunderland in midweek, the game between the top two will be vital. Liverpool can now afford to draw, but Chelsea will sense their chance and do their utmost to snatch victory for themselves. We are predicting Jose Mourinho to live up to his ‘Special One’ nickname and suppress the Scousers with a performance similar to the one at Man City in February. Everton and Sunderland will keep Man City from catching the top two but Chelsea will take advantage of their easier run-in and keep their cool against Cardiff on the final day.