Manchester City and Liverpool enter the English Premier League football home straight this weekend as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his position in the Manchester United dugout for the first time as permanent boss.
With the international break over, City have eight games to retain their title but should they slip up, Liverpool are poised to pounce and become English champions for the first time since 1990 by winning their seven matches to come.
Pep Guardiola’s City, trailing Liverpool by two points, can crank up the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side by winning at Championship-bound Fulham this afternoon.
Liverpool have the far harder task of hosting Tottenham tomorrow but know that a win will be a huge step towards the title with a relatively kind fixture list to come, barring a home game against Chelsea.
“A season is like that, you constantly prepare a basis for the final weeks,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
“We are now in the final weeks and there will be no interruption anymore, there will only be game after game after game and they all are very, very important.”
Klopp has no injury concerns and plenty of reasons for optimism with Spurs mired in a slump and in danger of crashing out of the top four.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men have taken just one point from their last four league games and could see their three-point cushion over fifth-placed Manchester United cancelled out by the time they kick-off at Anfield.
Tottenham’s slide means Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are involved in a four-way battle for the two Champions League places behind Liverpool and City.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal are the form team in that group and go into their match at home to Newcastle on Monday night buoyed by their win against Manchester Untied before the international break.
“In these next eight matches, we need to play with a lot of personality like we did against Manchester United,” Emery told Arsenal’s website.
“We know it’s going to be difficult because we are surrounded by other big teams but I think we are working very well and we are taking confidence to have chances in the last matches.”
English Premiership Fixtures (all 5pm unless otherwise stated)
Today: Fulham v Manchester City (2:30pm); Leicester City v Bournemouth; Manchester United v Watford; Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town; Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton; Burnley v Wolverhampton Wanderers; West Ham United v Everton (7:30pm).
Tomorrow: Cardiff City v Chelsea (3:05pm); Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur (5:30pm).
Monday: Arsenal v Newcastle United (9pm)