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Man City-Liverpool title race, European places, relegation all to be decided

Man City-Liverpool title race, European places, relegation all to be decided

Welcome to ESPN’s LIVE coverage of the final day of the 2021-22 Premier League season! Will Manchester City or Liverpool win the title? Who will reach the Champions League by finishing in the top four — Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal? Where will Manchester United end up? And will Burnley or Leeds United be relegated?

Join us and refresh the page for most recent updates.

– Premier League: Scores | Standings | Statistics
– Premier League: What’s at stake on final day?
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LIVE BLOG

11.03 ET / 16.03 BST: LIVERPOOL 0-1 WOLVES! WHAT A START!

Anfield stunned into silence after just three minutes. A breakaway goal by Pedro Neto has put Wolves 1-0 ahead and left Liverpool’s title and quadruple bid hanging by a thread. A burst forward by Raul Jimenez caught Liverpool out and the Mexico forward squared for Neto to tap in at the far post in front of The Kop.– Mark Ogden

SIG: Pedro Neto’s goal (2 mins, 11 secs) for Wolves is the fastest allowed by Liverpool in the Premier League since January 2021 (Southampton’s Danny Ings at 1:52)

11.01 ET / 16.01 BST:

Teams are out at the Eithad, greeted by fireworks and smoke cannons. There is still a bit of nervousness among the fans inside the stadium, although most are happy to see that it’s Robin Olsen in goal for Aston Villa rather than Emi Martinez. Olsen hasn’t played for Villa since joining on loan in January. His last club game was playing for Sheffield United in a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn in November. He’s just kicked the ball out of play with his first touch. — Rob Dawson

11.00 ET / 16.00 BST: Here we go!

10.45 ET / 15.45 BST: 538 has the percentage chances for various events today.

– Chance to win the title: Man City 82%, Liverpool 18%

Man City have a 79% chance to beat Aston Villa, while Liverpool have a 83% chance to beat Wolves.

– Chance to claim fourth spot: Tottenham 96%, Arsenal 4%

– Chance to be relegated: Leeds 76%, Burnley 24%

10.21 ET / 15.21 BST: TEAM NEWS from the major teams in action today, you say?

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Konate, Robertson, Keita, Henderson, Thiago, Jota, Mane, Diaz.

Subs: van Dijk, Milner, Firmino, Salah, Jones, Minamino, Tsimikas, Kelleher, Elliott.

Man City XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Fernandinho, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Mahrez, Jesus, Foden.

Subs: Carson, Ake, Walker, Sterling, Gundogan, Grealish, Zinchenko, Palmer, McAtee.

Tottenham XI: Lloris, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon, Kulusevski, Son, Kane

Subs: Gollini, Winks, Rodon, Bergwijn, Moura, White, Scarlett, Devine, Craig.

Arsenal XI: Ramsdale, Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Nketiah

Subs: Leno, White, Lacazette, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Lokonga, Oulad M’hand, Swanson, Patino

Burnley XI: Pope, Taylor, Tarkowski, Collins, Long, Cork, Roberts, McNeil, Brownhill, Barnes, Cornet.

Subs: Hennessey, McGlynn, Weghorst, Stephens, Lennon, Bardsley, Thomas, Dodgson, Costelloe.

Leeds XI: Meslier, Koch, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo, Phillips, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, Gelhardt, Greenwood

Subs: Klaesson, Roberts, Struijk, Bate, Hjelde, Cresswell, Klich, Shackleton, Gray

10.15 ET / 15.15 BST: Liverpool have to win and they’ll have some big support as ever. Mark Ogden is at Anfield for us.

With excitement mounting before kick-off, Manchester City fans gathered in the street outside the Etihad to give their players a rousing welcome as the team bus wound toward the stadium through a cloud of sky blue smoke. Rob Dawson is there for us.

10.00 ET / 15.00 BST: It all comes down to this … some 10 months since the first ball was kicked, the campaign will wrap up on what is certain to be a thrilling and tense Sunday with all 20 teams kicking off their matches at 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. BST.

There is still plenty left to play for as we enter the final 90 minutes of the campaign, not least the title itself as both Manchester City and Liverpool still have the potential to end the day with their hands on the trophy.

The fate of the championship is very much in City’s hands, who have a one-point lead over rivals Liverpool in second place heading into the 38th and final round of matches. Put simply, a win at the Etihad will be enough for Pep Guardiola’s side, but failure to do so would open the way for Klopp’s team to take the title and keep their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple alive.

Along with the title there are teams battling for places in three European competitions — Champions League, Europa League and Conference League — as well as two clubs scrambling to avoid finishing in the last relegation place.

There are also several orders of individual merit — such as the league’s top goal scorer — on the line as all 20 top-flight teams involved prepared to tussle it out one last time this season.

Bring it on!

Before the matches kick off, let’s take a closer look at the main things to look out for:

THE TITLE

MAN CITY

1st, 90 points, +72 goal difference

LIVERPOOL

2nd, 89 points, +66 goal difference

This is the ninth time a Premier League title race has gone down to the final round of matches, though no team at the top has ever surrendered their advantage — no matter how narrow — after starting the day at the summit.

Reigning champions City play host to Aston Villa after starting the day on top of the table with 90 points. Liverpool, one point behind, take on Wolves at Anfield knowing that they still have a chance of leapfrogging their rivals should results go their way.

A win for City would be enough to see them crowned champions for the fourth time in five years, but the Reds maintained their quadruple quest with a 2-1 comeback win over Southampton in their penultimate game on Tuesday. This ensured that City can still be pipped to the trophy should they fail to win and Liverpool secure victory on the final day. If City lose and Liverpool draw, it then goes down to goal difference, but it would require City to lose by seven goals for Liverpool to finish top.

Should Jurgen Klopp’s side claim a second title in three seasons, it would be despite having only topped the Premier League table for one week over the course of the entire season, following a 3-3 draw against Brentford in late September.

Oddly, there is a scenario that would see an unprecedented playoff game between City and Liverpool required to settle the title, but that would involve the former losing 6-0 against Villa at home while the latter drew 5-5 against Wolves. Improbable, yes, but not impossible.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

TOTTENHAM

4th, 68 points, +24 goal difference

ARSENAL

5th, 66 points, +9 goal difference

Below the title chasers, the race for fourth place will also go down to the wire as local adversaries Tottenham and Arsenal vie to join City, Liverpool and Chelsea in the Champions League next season.

Chelsea sealed their qualification earlier in the week without kicking a ball as Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Monday was enough to ensure the Blues a top-four finish. Furthermore, Thomas Tuchel’s side are three points and plus-18 goals clear of Spurs, so they have third place virtually tied up as they prepare to face relegated Watford in their final fixture.

Fourth-placed Spurs carry a two-point lead over Arsenal, but thanks to a vastly superior goal difference (plus-15 better, in fact), they effectively require just a point against bottom-of-the-table Norwich to book their return to Europe’s top club competition.

Arsenal can still overtake their neighbours, but that requires beating Everton and hoping that Spurs come royally unstuck against the relegated Canaries at Carrow Road.

The Gunners could also pip Spurs to fourth place if the latter only muster a draw against Norwich, but it would mean that Mikel Arteta’s team would need to beat Everton by 16 goals or more to do so. Again, hugely improbable but not impossible.

EUROPA LEAGUE/CONFERENCE LEAGUE

MAN UNITED

6th, 58 points, +1 goal difference

WEST HAM

7th, 56 points, +11 goal difference

Whoever loses out in the top-four battle will finish fifth, taking one of the two Europa League places available. The other will be taken by either Manchester United or West Ham.

United — who are already guaranteed to record their lowest points total of the Premier League era — will guarantee finishing sixth and a place in the Europa League if they win at Crystal Palace. Should they draw, then West Ham will return to the competition in which they reached this season’s semifinals if they can win at Brighton.

Whichever one of these two teams finishes seventh will go into next season’s Europa Conference League.

RELEGATION

BURNLEY

17th, 35 points, -18 goal difference

LEEDS UNITED

18th, 35 points, -38 goal difference

They left it ridiculously late, but Everton preserved their precious top-flight status for a 69th consecutive year with a remarkable 3-2 comeback victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday. Defeat would have sucked the Toffees into a three-way fight on the final day, but as such the relegation scrap is a straight winner-stays-up duel between Burnley and Leeds.

The Clarets leapt up and out of the relegation zone with a 1-1 draw against Villa on Thursday that saw Leeds tumble below the dotted line of doom on goal difference. Jesse Marsch’s side are now level with Burnley on 35 points but are 20 goals worse off. They travel to face Brentford on the final day knowing that, realistically, a failure to better the Clarets’ result against Newcastle will see them jettisoned back down to the Championship.

GOLDEN BOOT

MOHAMED SALAH

22 goals

SON HEUNG-MIN

21 goals

CRISTIANO RONALDO

18 goals

Mohamed Salah is currently leading the way in the hunt for the 2021-22 Premier League Golden Boot having scored 22 league goals for Liverpool this season.

A groin injury saw him miss the chance to add to his tally after missing the Reds’ penultimate game against Southampton, but he can bolster his stats by finding the net against Wolves in the last outing of the campaign. However, Klopp has already said he will not gamble on the forward’s fitness with the Champions League final against Real Madrid in six days’ time.

Son Heung-Min of Tottenham is Salah’s closest challenger, with the South Korean having amassed 21 goals in league competition this season.

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo also has an outside chance of claiming the Golden Boot after scoring 18 league goals in his comeback year at Old Trafford, but he will need to score a hatful against Palace in his final game to top the ranking. Harry Kane is next on the list (16 goals) but Son’s striker partner at Spurs would require an even greater feat of individual marksmanship against Norwich if he were to retain to trophy.

Salah has already won the Golden Boot twice before (2017-18 and 2018-19) but shared it on both occasions. He will therefore no doubt be keen to claim the award for himself this time around.

PLAYMAKER OF THE SEASON

MOHAMED SALAH

13 assists

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

12 assists

ANDY ROBERTSON

10 assists

MASON MOUNT

10 assists

JARROD BOWEN

10 assists

Salah could become the second player in as many seasons to win both the Premier League Golden Boot and the Playmaker of the Season awards after Harry Kane (23 goals and 14 assists) completed the clean sweep in 2020-21.

This year Liverpool, as ever, dominate the assist rankings with Salah top (13 assists) closely followed by teammates Trent Alexander-Arnold (12) and Andy Robertson, who is joint-third on the list alongside Jarrod Bowen and Mason Mount with 10 assists apiece heading into the final day.

GOLDEN GLOVE

EDERSON

20 clean sheets

ALISSON

20 clean sheets

City and Liverpool will also go head-to-head in the race for the Golden Glove award, with fellow Brazilians Ederson and Alisson level-pegging on 20 clean sheets each heading into their final matches.

While the destiny of the Premier League title is the more pressing concern for both, one more shutout for either goalkeeper would be enough to claim at least a share of the 2021-22 award.

Alisson has won the Golden Glove on one occasion (2018-19) while Ederson has two gongs in his collection (2019-20 and 2020-21).


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