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Brendan Rodgers: “The title is Manchester City’s to lose”

Dec 22, 2013, 6:46 PM EDT

Swansea City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers has scarcely got anything wrong this season, steering Liverpool to the top of the Premier League with one match left in Round 17, so it should be no surprise the Reds’ boss also sees the league’s title race for what it’s worth. Second place Manchester City, the Liverpool manager says, are the title favorites. Though they don’t occupy the league’s top spot, they’re still the team to beat.

“I still believe the title is Manchester City’s to lose,” Rodgers said, his team set to travel to the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day. “They have the strongest squad. The resources they have are incredible.”

The comments could be read as slightly self-serving, casting Liverpool as underdogs trying to bite a well-funded favorite, but they’re also correct. City is massively supported by their ownership, support that’s translated into one of the top squads in the world. Over the last month, that squad is 9-0-1, has won at Bayern Munich, and has posted a +20 goal difference. This may not be the best team in England. At this moment, it may be the best team in the world.

In the broader picture — the entirely Premier League season — City has posted a +31 goal difference and are on pace to smash the league record for goals. In both regards, Liverpool ranks a distant second. With 42 goals, Liverpool is nine ahead of third-best Arsenal but also nine behind City. The Reds’ +23 difference is seven better than the Gunners.

That’s why Rodgers may be right to note: Despite Liverpool’s place atop the Premier League, their work isn’t done. With a trip to Manchester looping, Liverpool cannot be content with what could prove a temporary spot on top of the table.

“We can’t ever think we have cracked it,” Rodgers said after Saturday’s win over Cardiff City. “We can’t become complacent. You have to be focused and move on to the next game.

“We are very calm. We are not getting carried away. We are focusing on improving our performance level.”

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