Believe some anguished sections of the Liverpool support, and the season is done and dusted. It’s over.
Manchester City have won the Premier League title.
The champions’ 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday saw them move ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s side on goal difference to lead the table for the first time in almost two months.
Never mind that the Reds have a game in hand. Never mind that there remains nearly a third of the campaign to go.
It’s finished, say the gloom merchants. May as well just pack up and start concentrating on next season.
But consider this message.
“The lesson is never give up. That is the lesson to all athletes. Try to win the games, because life can change immediately.”
Those words were from Pep Guardiola, holding court within the bowels of Goodison as he pondered how City have transformed from being one defeat away from trailing Liverpool by 10 points to now being marginally ahead.
Yet they should surely also ring true for Klopp’s men.
Okay, there’s no doubt the Reds have not been at their best since the 2-1 defeat at the Etihad at the turn of the year, hampered by tiredness and a raft of injuries.
But don’t forget City briefly fell apart over Christmas primarily because they were missing just one player, central midfield anchor Fernandinho.
Oh, and they did lose their fourth Premier League game of the season barely a week ago when shocked 2-1 at Newcastle United.
Liverpool have been beaten only once. And a win over Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday would restore a three-point advantage from the same number of games.
In praising the fighting spirit of his players, Guardiola has also sent a timely reminder to Liverpool that, despite their minor wobble and the wailing of some fans, it’s not a done deal. Not even close.
Of course, there is a school of thought that Guardiola should be ignored altogether.
That’s fine earlier in the season. But now, deep into the campaign, it’s impossible to readily dismiss what City – along with fellow challengers Tottenham Hotspur and their boss Mauricio Pochettino – say or do.
It’s all going to matter. Every utterance, every action, every kick will be analysed within an inch of its existence. That is the way of the football world right now, particularly for teams in the midst of a tense Premier League title race.
So if Klopp had fears self-doubt was beginning to creep into his players after an astonishing top-flight season so far, he need only refer to Guardiola’s words.
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City don’t think it’s over. So why should Liverpool and their supporters?
This, folks, is where the campaign starts to become interesting…