Of all the gin joints. It’s the year 2022, Liverpool are involved in a title race – and Steven Gerrard is a central figure. By a quirk of the fixture computer and the managerial merry-go-round, his Aston Villa side play Liverpool tonight and Manchester City at the Etihad on the final day. He could help Liverpool win the title, or he could finish them off in the next few hours.
If Liverpool drop points tonight, it’ll be all over bar the tweeting. As they’ve won 13 of their last 15 league games, even the dumb money is on them winning at Villa Park. But there’s no rest for the well wicked: the more successful you are, the greater the fixture pile-up at the end of the season, and this is Liverpool’s 12th game in 39 days since the last international break.
One interpretation of their draw with Spurs on Saturday is that they showed signs of fatigue, mentally rather than physically, though in truth it’s far too early to jump to that conclusion. It should surprise nobody if they chase Villa off the park tonight.
Villa have won their last two games though, ending a poor run of form, and have players who can hurt Liverpool: Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings and the artist formerly known as the Little Magician.
Like Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho will experience some mixed emotions tonight.
Kick off 8pm.