Liverpool’s win as race for the top four heats up

MATCH WINNER: Coutinho's wonder goal sealed three points for Liverpool

It was all smiles at Anfield as the Liverpool saw off Champions Manchester City to reach within 2 points of a Champions League berth. While the Merseysiders struggled at the start of the season, a run of undefeated games since the turn of the year has brought them well in contention for a top four place, and could well end up finishing in the Champions League at the expense of either Manchester United or Arsenal. Manager Brendan Rodgers has rallied his troops efficiently, and made sure that his sides’ exemplary unbeaten home record against the Citizens remained intact.

Manchester City the architect of their own downfall

Manchester City’s stumble at Anfield might be the result that tilts the title charge in Chelsea’s favor. The defeat means Manuel Pellegrini’s men are 5 points adrift of Chelsea, the Blues having played a game less. Although Liverpool dominated from the outset and chances for the Citizens were at premium, it wasn’t a Champions’ performance. Fresh from a home defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, the Eastlands side couldn’t shake off their European disappointment, all but forfeiting the league.

Width the way forward for Manchester United

Having tweaked with various combinations to date, the 4-3-3 system that outplayed Sunderland on Saturday evening should be resorted by Louis van Gaal in the long-run. Wingplay, which has been United’s lethal weapon over the years, made evident against the Black Cats why it should be utilized for a prolonged period. Although Ángel Di María, one of United’s two starting wingers struggled, his predecessor Adnan Januzaj made an instant impact, creating 3 chances and having 4 shots on goal. It was worthy of the Belgian’s dazzling runs down the right that created Rooney’s second, and while it might be a co-incidence, it was the Black Cats against whom the 20-year-old came to prominence last season. This system although, makes one striker face the axe, makes sure the players are used in their preferred prime positions.

Everton’s European hangovers a matter of concern

Another defeat aftermath of their Europa League adventure, Everton’s worries don’t seem to diminish soon enough. A blunt outing away to Arsenal sees the Toffees just 6 points adrift of the relegation zone. Given their current form, even a finish in the top half of the table seems demanding, let alone a European place. The defeat was their fourth of the season after a Europa League tie, a fact worth bothering for Roberto Martinez. Moreover, their progression in the competition sees them face a daunting task in the Round of 16 against Ukrainian outfit FC Dynamo Kyiv, with an exhausting 7 hour trip in the offing. With just 11 rounds of the Premier League to commence, Martinez needs to bring conventional balance to steady his sides’ domestic ship along with the European sojourn.

Time running out for Aston Villa

When Aston Villa installed Tim Sherwood as their manager last month, he pledged to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League, but also admitting that the club is running out of time to avoid relegation. It might indeed be the latter one. Another defeat, their 16th of the season, this time against Newcastle, has them rooted in the bottom three. The 40 point magical figure is near to impossible from now on, but given the quality of the side at their disposal as compared to their fellow struggling peers, the Villians are capable of mounting an escape, and with time running out, Sherwood and co. need to act quick.

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Image Courtesy, Express, Squawka