7 Premier League truths – Liverpool, Moyes and the relegation battle


1. Jose Mourinho does not like losing – but he knows what he’s doing

Charismatic, brilliant, a specialist in winning – Mourinho is all these things. But, like many managerial greats, he reacts dreadfully to defeat. Mike Dean did not have the best game, but he should have dismissed Ramires too, and to claim conspiracies over a contentious but understandable penalty is ridiculous given Chelsea had not previously conceded one in the league this season. However, the Portuguese is a master of the mind-games and, like Fergie before him, likes to act as a lightning rod when his team are under pressure. Chelsea undeniably bottled it against Sunderland, and Mourinho knows his latest comments will take the attention off his players and on to him. Will it work? Maybe. But it’s out of their hands now – Liverpool are very much in charge of this title race.

2. Liverpool are going to win the league

There, we said it. They have kept cool heads (sort of) and kept winning (absolutely) while everyone else has fallen apart. Chelsea somehow contrived to lose at home to a Sunderland side who barely make par in the top flight; Manchester City seem intent on choking despite having the best squad by a country mile.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have no fear, no interest in grinding out results, and no tangible weak point in attack.

With three matches to go, they lead by five points and surely that is that.

Or is it?

Because if Chelsea beat Liverpool, and Manchester City win their remaining games – including one in hand on the leaders – City will likely win the title on goal difference.


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3. David Moyes, on the other hand, does not know what he’s doing

Talk about misjudging the public mood. Moyes, who has recently been sacked as the manager of Manchester United, claimed his side had played well against Everton.

"I thought the two goals we conceded today were rank, rotten. The (first) goal was a big kick up the pitch, it was nodded down and picked up, and for us to concede a goal like that was terrible. The second was a better move but we should have defended it much better that we did. We gave away two terrible goals but prior to that we passed the ball brilliantly well, kept the ball, had great control of the game. What we couldn't do is make enough chances, but we had a great control and we got done by two stupid decisions."

Come on now. A 2-0 defeat is not just about the two goals you concede, but those you fail to score. Apart from a fine late save from Wayne Rooney, Tim Howard was untested, and United didn’t even have a shot on target in that so-called “brilliant” possession performance.

It’s almost like he wanted to be put out of his misery.

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4. You don’t have to be a bad guy to be a good manager

A charge often levelled at the likes of Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Martinez is that they are simply too nice for the cut-throat world of football management. But Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers is proving that you can be a likeable, kind fellow and still get results when it counts. It is looking increasingly likely that Rodgers will be the first Northern Irishman to guide a team to the English title since Sunderland’s Bob Kyle over a century ago. Chapeau, nice guy.

5. The relegation battle is tougher to call than the title

Fulham did not expect to get a result at Spurs, but Sunderland’s shock victory and an excellent point for Cardiff throws it all wide open again – particularly given Norwich’s home defeat to Liverpool. It’s hard to see Norwich getting any points from hereon in, and the bottom three know it. One of the teams lying 18-20th is likely to survive. Who will it be?

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6. Arsenal really, really missed Aaron Ramsey

Arsene Wenger has been getting it in the neck for Arsenal’s trademark Spring collapse, and rightly so – his failure to sign a striker in January following the injury to Theo Walcott bordered on negligence. But it will be another season of ‘what ifs’ for the Gunners, who have sorely missed Ramsey. The first half of the season saw the Welshman tipped to be player of the year; had he stayed fit there is no doubt he’d have rivalled Luis Suarez for the award, and it’s likely Arsenal would have been in the mix for the title instead of scrapping for fourth. Walcott’s injury clearly had an impact, but he was replaceable – Ramsey, dominant against Hull, was not.

7. Forget Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris is Spurs' main man

Tottenham would be scrapping with Southampton and Newcastle over the minor placings had Hugo Lloris not been between the posts. The French stopper starred again in the win over Fulham, denying Hugo Rodallega with a spectacular save and beating away Steve Sidwell’s penalty. His tendency to rush off his line – and occasionally increase the boundaries of his penalty area, hoping the officials won’t notice – has been labelled as a weakness but, right now, he has no choice as a hapless Spurs defence struggles to defend even the simplest of through balls. Tottenham fans can look forward to a summer of endless speculation involving Lloris.

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