A simultaneously enviable and unenviable position

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!

YOGA BONITO

With another game each behind them in the race to the Premier League title and neither contender showing any inclination to blink, Liverpool and Manchester City should be commended on their respective impersonations of hungry dogs staring devotedly at their owners in the hope of receiving a treat. Of course, The Fiver has no dog – unblinking and hungry or otherwise – in this particular fight, but like most neutrals we can think of multiple reasons why we would find it hilarious to see either team ultimately come up short.

One point behind with a game in hand, City control their own and the title’s destiny but undoubtedly have the tougher fixtures with which to contend. With games to come against Cardiff City, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves, Liverpool find themselves in the simultaneously enviable and unenviable position where they could notch up 97 points over the course of a season and somehow still not win the title that has eluded them for 29 years. Inconceivable a state of affairs as that might be, it is one any “neutrals” with even the most passing interest in human psychology would be intrigued to see unfold if only to see how all involved would cope.

“We only try to collect as many points as possible,” declared a bullish Jürgen Klopp following his side’s latest win, against Chelsea. “What is it now, 85? Four games to play: 97. Let’s try and if that’s enough, perfect. If not we cannot change it. And we didn’t lose it here or there or wherever.” Liverpool’s manager went on to rail against perceived critics, “idiots”, who “will come out and say ‘yeah, if you would have won against Leicester you would be champions’”. He did so despite incontrovertible evidence that in the event of such a nightmarish scenario unfolding for Liverpool those idiots would technically be correct.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE

Join Simon Burnton from 8pm BST for hot MBM coverage of Watford 2-1 Arsenal.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We just have to look at the golf and look at what Tiger has done – amazing! Nobody gave him a chance either. It’s an opportunity for us to give ourselves a chance till the end of the season. We have to grab that. We’re 20-1 on to go down. I don’t think Tiger was that far” – Neil Warnock on why Cardiff staying up would be a bigger sporting comeback story than Tiger Woods winning the Masters. Yup.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Football Weekly will be in this general vicinity.

RECOMMENDED LOOKING

A remarkable picture essay: undercover with one of the first women to disguise herself as a man to watch football in Iran.

Zeinab’s story.
Zeinab’s story. Photograph: Forough Alaei

FIVER LETTERS

“Judging by Tim Holmes’s photo (Friday’s Fiver letters), Harry Kane now appears to have his own toilet in Hawaii” – Mike Hopkin (and others).

“On the off chance that Tim is still in Honolulu, can I apologise for the weather we’ve been having over the past few days and strongly recommend having sunset drinks and pupu’s at Nico’s on Pier 38? The Ahi Belly Bites are particularly good. And yes, the hospitality people are contractually required to wear Hawaiian shirts and say ‘Aloha’ every other sentence. It’s a word freighted with deep cultural meaning here but starts to sound a lot like ‘have a nice day’ after the 500th iteration of the morning” – Joe Mercer.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is Joe Mercer.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

The city of Liverpool observed a minute’s silence at 3.06pm to mark 30 years since the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough was stopped because of the crush that killed 96 men, women and children.

MK Dons are “appalled” after their forward Chuks Aneke was the subject of a racist social media post on Sunday.

Magdalena Eriksson has received the backing of Chelsea boss Emma Hayes despite scoring a Phil Jones-style calamitous late own goal that gifted Manchester City a 1-0 win and passage to an FA Cup final against West Ham. “There are a million games she has kept us in this year,” sighed Hayes. “I will remind her of how wonderful she’s been.”

Luton Town U-8s have won their age group’s equivalent of Big Cup after beating Juventus 6-1 in the International Cup final. “It’s fantastic to see the young boys doing so well in their tournaments abroad, flying the flag for Luton Town,” cheered Hatters boss Mick Harford, who might have to wait a while for one of the young tyros to graduate.

And Ludogorets chief suit Angel Petrichev has laughed off suggestions Cosmin Moti should be banned for five games after celebrating in front of Levski fans, who rioted and tried to break on to the pitch by scaling the players’ tunnel and, in one case, falling through the roof in comic fashion. “Are we supposed to celebrate our goals once we make it to the dressing room and not on the pitch?” tooted Petrichev. “Cosmin Moti didn’t provoke the Levski fans. He’s the most likable player in Bulgarian football!”

STILL WANT MORE?

Brian Glanville’s obituary of Ivor Broadis.

Get your Premier League talking points from the weekend’s action. Ten of them. Right here!

Here you go.
Here you go. Composite: Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Reuters

It’s Hendo Unchained! Liverpool’s dogged captain has taken centre stage in the title race, writes floating football brain in a jar Jonathan Wilson as he gets in touch with his inner Tarantino.

Sevilla’s resurrection continues under Joaquín Caparrós in the “holy derby”, whoops Sid Lowe.

Milan got shirty with Francesco Acerbi after winning the “€50m match” with Lazio, trills Paolo Bandini.

Moody teenager Julian Nagelsmann may go out with a bang at Hoffenheim before joining Energy Drink Leipzig, reports Andy Brassell.

Ligue Urrrrn aficionados Adam White and Eric Devin on that 5-1 shellacking of PSG by Lille.

Time is nearly up for another prize Ajax crop, explains Ed Aarons.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

JFT96