For a short period of time, a couple of years ago, Brendan Rodgers looked as though he may win the Premier League title with Liverpool. He certainly came closer than they have done for many a year and all the stupid cliches came babbling forth from the experts and the press. My favourite is, “they will never have a better chance of winning it than they did that year“.

That, of course, is complete nonsense as, under Jürgen Klopp, they may very well have their best chance of winning it, although it is yet to come.

This year is probably too soon as Klopp, unlike Rodgers, does not have Luis Suarez in the team as well as only having an underperforming Daniel Sturridge rather than the top striker Rodgers was picking every week.

Manchester United are trying to rediscover themselves and José Mourinho looks to be the nearest to actually achieving that since Sir Alex Ferguson packed his trunk and said goodbye to the circus.

Unlike David Moyes he is a winner. Unlike Louis van Gaal he has not adopted a scattergun approach to the transfer market, preferring to spend big on quality rather than on the quantity the Dutchman seemd to favour,  most of which has either departed or is in the process of departing.

Everton are also experiencing a minor, (at present it can only be described as such), resurgence under Ronald Koeman. The feelgood factor appears to be back and, although they are unlikely to threaten the top six this season, never mind the top four, the future is looking bright for a team which has struggled to find a top class manager since the early years of Howard Kendall.

Manchester City have spent the first half of the season being either brilliant or awful. The fact that they are still in the top four is more a testament to the quality of their squad than to the exhilarating football they have played.

Pep Guardiola is trying to stamp his authority on the team and is finding that he cannot adopt the same approach as he did in Spain or Germany. This seems to be the club where the world will find out whether or not he is as good as many people think he is.

So the four will meet this weekend in games which need no building up. This will not stop Sky Sports promoting them as, “Games of the Season“, or “Top Six Deciders” or some other such rubbish.

In actual fact they are no such thing. The winners will steal a slight march on the losers. If United and City both win, then City will go above Liverpool and United will move to within a point of them.

If Liverpool and Everton win, then Liverpool will move five points clear of City and eight from United. The Everton win would just about keep them in touch of the top six.

What will actually happen is difficult to predict. Manchester City normally do well against Everton at Goodison Park and so should pick up at least a point. Manchester United’s current form should be too good for Liverpool at Old Trafford and maximum points should be achieved.

These results wouldn’t change anything very much and the positions in the table would stay the same depending upon the results of the games involving Tottenham and Arsenal.

So Championship deciders they are certainly not. A bearing on who goes into the new year in the best shape, yes they can be said to be that. A battle between two cities for the pride of saying “we won” when it’s all over? Yes again, at this stage of the season that is all there really is at stake.

There is still enough time left for lost points to be made up and any of United, City or Liverpool could go on to win the title regardless of the results this weekend.

That is what makes this season one of the most interesting for a long while. Let the games begin!


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