Manchester City and Liverpool’s Premier League title race is about to end – but how close are we to seeing a title play-off?
It’s never happened before, but with just two games left and three points separating City and Liverpool, it remains possible that this season’s title race will be decided by a single game after the end of the league season. What a prospect.
Before we get into the specific results needed for this to happen, here are the Premier League rules for determining table position:
- If two teams are level on points, goal difference would be the deciding factor.
- If the goal difference was equal, the goals scored would determine which team finished higher.
- If the clubs still cannot be separated, the team with the fewest points in head-to-head matches in the Premier League season would finish lower.
- If the record is the same, the club scoring more goals as the away team in one-on-one matches would finish better.
- If none of these criteria can separate the teams, there would be a play-off on neutral ground – the format, time and venue of which would be determined by the Premier League board.
What should happen for a play-off for the PL title?
While City and Liverpool have drawn 2-2 in their two head-to-head encounters this season – in perhaps two of the most exciting competitions of the Premier League campaign – they cannot be separated at In this regard, which leaves us with the almost inconceivable possibility of a play-off for the title.
A final, so to speak, to decide between the champions of England. Heady stuff.
It would, of course, require a series of fairly specific results to achieve such an end goal.
But with Liverpool facing a Southampton side who have scored four or more goals on three occasions since early March, and City centre-back’s injuries piling up ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, you never know.
Here is a scenario that would see teams finish completely leveling:
- City are beaten 2-0 at West Ham on Sunday, with Liverpool beating Southampton 4-0 the following Tuesday.
- On the final day, City beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa with a 2-1 victory, while Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0.
Where would he be?
One would assume that such a match would take place at Wembley, the birthplace of football. But the Premier League handbook doesn’t go into that detail. Perhaps because no one foresaw that we would get to the point where, after 38 league games over a whole season, two teams could no longer be separated.
The decision on the neutral location, as stipulated by the regulations, would be determined by the Premier League board.
This leaves the possibility – frightening for Manchester United fans – that a Premier League title play-off between City and Liverpool could take place at Old Trafford, with both sides based in the North West.
When would that happen?
The first weekend available after the conclusion of the Premier League is May 28/29, but Liverpool are not available on these days as they face Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
This would leave the first weekend of June as the ideal option for clubs, but it would also depend on the available dates of the desired neutral venue.