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Liverpool as Premier League favorites — Why the Reds may not drop any more points

It’s fairly obvious to Liverpool fans that the preferred result of Arsenal’s visit to Manchester City would be a draw, but the second-best outcome being a Man City win feels a little funny. Liverpool rooting for their fiercest recent rival Manchester City to beat Arsenal? Counterproductive at first blush, to be sure.

But there’s nothing more to it than the obvious advantage of a Man City win leaving Liverpool alone atop the table, because Liverpool’s results this Premier League season leave their remaining schedule looking like a piece of cake.

There was a draw after all — not far off Klopp’s quip that he’d hoped both teams would lose — and making the argument that Liverpool is the favorite to win the Premier League is easier than at any other point this season.

[ MORE: Premier League table | Premier League schedule, results ]

Why? Only once this season have Liverpool dropped points against a side who could be called anything other than a big spender. In other words, when Liverpool meet teams below their means, it’s been game over in Jurgen Klopp’s favor.

Nine times the Reds have drawn or lost this season and it’s been all big budgets aside from Brighton on Oct. 8 and Luton on Nov. 5. The losses came away to Tottenham and Arsenal, while the remaining draws were with Chelsea and Man City away, plus Manchester United, Man City, and Arsenal at home.

Furthermore, the Reds’ performances in one of those outliers was superior and unrewarded, at least in terms of expected goals. Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Luton was a 3.04-1.34 xG advantage in favor of the visitors.

Now look at the schedule ahead.

Liverpool remaining schedule

(All times Eastern)

Thursday April 4, 2:30pm: Sheffield United (H)
Sunday April 7, 10:30am: Manchester United (A)
Thursday, April 11, 3pm: Atalanta (H) - Europa League
Sunday April 14, 9am: Crystal Palace (H)
Thursday, April 18, 3pm: Atalanta (A) - Europa League
Sunday April 21, 11:30am: Fulham (A)
Wednesday April 24, 3pm: Everton (A)
Saturday April 27, 7:30am: West Ham (A)
*Thursday, May 2: Possible Europa League semifinal first leg
Saturday May 4, 10am: Tottenham (H)
*Thursday, May 9: Possible Europa League semifinal second leg
Saturday May 11, 10am: Aston Villa (A)
Sunday May 19, 11am: Wolves (H)
Wednesday, May 22: Possible Europa League Final (Dublin)

Why Liverpool may win the Premier League

Well, first off: Liverpool is very good. They’ve made it a habit to come back from any deficits, rarely drop points to anyone but the best, and are in first place while waiting upon the expected April returns of Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, and Andy Robertson.

And there will be two potential trouble points on the schedule. First is next Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford for a fierce rivalry against a Manchester United that beat them earlier this month, which happens to come before a visit from Atalanta in the Europa League.

Assuming the Reds get revenge on the Red Devils and advance past Atalanta — currently sixth in Serie A — the remaining huge test will be the 11-day stretch from May 2-11. That’s when Liverpool would play Benfica or Marseille in the first leg of the Europa League semifinal, followed by a likely Sunday visit from Tottenham, the UEL semi second leg, and a trip to Villa Park to meet Aston Villa.

With Man City in one further competition and both City and Arsenal facing more difficult European tests, this really falls into Liverpool’s camp. Throw in the emotions behind Jurgen Klopp’s final season, and it’s difficult to imagine the Reds failing to find those extra bits of energy and focus when required by the competitive congestion.