Liverpool looks to rival Everton for big favor

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 9:27 am •  Published: May 1, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — For once, the biggest supporters of Everton will be on the red half of Merseyside this weekend, with Liverpool's Premier League title hopes on the line.

If Everton can extend its four-year winning run at home to Manchester City, the balance of power in this enthralling title race will swing back in favor of Liverpool.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard noted on NBC that the "first time in a long time everyone will be wearing blue in the city."

Although Liverpool is top, despite losing to second-placed Chelsea on Sunday, City is in the box seat in third place due to its game in hand that could eradicate a three-point gap to the summit and put it ahead on a superior goal difference.

If City falls short at Goodison Park, Liverpool would be guaranteed its first title since 1990 if it completes the season with victories against Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

Here are five things to know about this weekend's matches:

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CITY'S SCORING:

Just like in 2012, the title could be decided on goal difference — with City the beneficiaries once again.

"The most important thing we've learned from that experience was the team spirit to keep fighting until the end," City defender Pablo Zabaleta said.

After the trip to Everton, City has home games against relegation-threatened Aston Villa and West Ham, which is unlikely to have anything to play for on the final day of the season.

The loan system could work to City's advantage on Saturday. Midfielder Gareth Barry is ineligible to play for fifth-place Everton against his parent club, much to Roberto Martinez's annoyance as they look to secure a Europa League spot.

"I don't see it as a healthy way to treat a loan player in not letting him play against his parent club," the Everton manager said.

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CHELSEA'S CHASE

The loan system could ensure Jose Mourinho's title hopes stay alive. Despite Chelsea's strikers struggling for goals, Romelu Lukaku has spent the season at Everton.

Now Mourinho needs Lukaku to score against City on Saturday to ensure his first year back at the west London club doesn't end without a trophy. Should City and Liverpool lose, a victory over Norwich on Sunday would see Chelsea go into the final round of matches with a one-point lead at the top.