Title rivals fighting for every inch after last season's duel

8 Nov 2019
John Stones clearance crop 2

Liverpool and Man City know Sunday's contest could be decided by fine margins and the result may be pivotal, just like in 2018/19

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The 2019/20 Premier League title race is shaping up to be a classic as the top two teams prepare to go head-to-head at Anfield on Sunday.

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Having won 18 out of 22 matches between them this season, both Liverpool and Manchester City showed their determination not to lose any ground last weekend as they both came from behind to win.

Second-placed Man City were 1-0 down after 69 minutes against Southampton but triumphed 2-1.

And Liverpool left it even later to complete their own dramatic turnaround at Aston Villa, trailing after 86 minutes but also ultimately securing all three points.

Such fine margins could prove vital at the end of the campaign, just like last season.

Indeed, one of the closest-ever Premier League title races came down to a matter of mere centimetres when the top two teams met in January.

Hair's breadth

Liverpool's only Premier League defeat in 2018/19 came at the Etihad Stadium as they suffered a 2-1 loss. But it could have been so different.

At 0-0, City defender John Stones prevented the Reds from taking the lead by making a clearance with the ball only 1.12cm from crossing the goalline, the call being made by the Goal Decision System (GDS).

Ball position when Stones cleared
John Stones GDS v Liverpool

It proved to be a significant moment as Pep Guardiola's side went on to win the match and finish only a single point ahead of Liverpool, who were denied the title despite winning their last nine matches and amassing a total of 97 points.

With that in mind, both sides will know they must fight for every inch in Sunday's top-of-the-table showdown.

Tomorrow: History points to close contest between leaders and champions

Also in this series

Part 1: Owen: Liverpool have steel of Ferguson's Man Utd
Part 3: History favours Liverpool as leaders face champions
Part 4: Watch the best moments between Liverpool and Man City
Part 5: Can Aguero finally break his Anfield duck?

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