Liverpool's Premier League title ambitions will receive their ultimate test on what is sure to be a poignant weekend for the club as English football pauses to remember the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Britain's worst sporting tragedy, every league and cup game in England will start seven minutes later than initially scheduled and after a minute's silence. That is because the FA Cup semifinal on April 15, 1989, between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was called off at 3:06 p.m., with Liverpool fans being crushed in the stands.
It means the emotions will be especially high at Anfield on Sunday, when Liverpool hosts Manchester City in a match that could have a huge bearing on the destination of the Premier League trophy.
The game is likely to overshadow the FA Cup semifinals held over two days at Wembley Stadium, with Arsenal facing second-tier Wigan, which is the holder, and Hull taking on third-tier Sheffield United.
Here are five things to know about this weekend's league and cup games:
CRUNCH MATCH AT ANFIELD
The destiny of the Premier League title is currently in the hands of both Liverpool and Man City, but there could be one standout favorite by Sunday night.
Liverpool has won its last nine matches to return to the top of the standings and fuel belief among fans that the league trophy could be on its way back to Anfield for the first time in 24 years.
Even taking into account Manchester United's rapid demise post-Alex Ferguson, Liverpool's revival is the story of the season considering the team finished seventh last term.
And Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers knows the club couldn't have chosen a more perfect season for a rebirth.
"I knew coming into the football club that there are 96 people in the sky that will always be supporting this team," Rodgers said. "We want to do it for the great support and the football family of Liverpool and if we are to achieve anything this year, they will always be in our thoughts."
City, which is four points behind Liverpool with two games in hand, remains most pundits' favorites and is unbeaten in its last seven league matches. Top striker Sergio Aguero could be back from a hamstring injury.
DON'T FORGET CHELSEA
By overturning a two-goal deficit against Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League semifinals in midweek, Chelsea showed once again how foolish it is to write them off.
The same applies in the Premier League.
A draw at Anfield, for example, would suit second-place Chelsea and allow Jose Mourinho's team to draw level on points with Liverpool by beating Swansea away hours later.
Chelsea, however, has lost its last three away matches — to PSG in the Champions League and Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in the league — and will probably be without top scorer Eden Hazard because of a calf problem.
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