1000/1 on. Those are the best odds you are likely to get if you want to put a wager on Liverpool to win the Premier League. Even that infinitesimal chance that they won’t has nothing to do with City making some improbable comeback and everything to do with the outside possibility of the season being declared null and void.
With no football to watch at present, the boffins have been poring over their calculators to work out how the season will eventually pan out once we return to some form of normality. Let’s see what they have come up with.
Certain victories for the league leaders
With a 25 point deficit and 30 still available, you could argue that City are still in with a chance. However, the statisticians would quickly tell you it would make more sense to log on to Comeon Casino and place your money on the biggest jackpot slot you can see than to waste it on the 100/1 odds bookies are offering on City to win the league. Liverpool have had no slip ups worth talking about so far, and to lose, they’d need ten on the trot – it just won’t happen.
It’s a similar story across the other major European leagues. Paris St Germain have all but clinched Ligue 1 in France, Bayern Munich are almost unassailable in the Bundesliga, and while things are a little closer at the top in Italy and Spain, it seems highly unlikely that Juventus and Barca will be toppled from their perches.
Who goes to Europe?
Further down the Premier League table however, there is far more at stake. With Manchester City excluded from European football, it effectively means a top five finish will be enough to play in the Champions League. Leicester City and Chelsea are most likely to occupy positions three and four, but fifth place is anybody’s guess. It’s currently occupied by Manchester United, but Wolves and Sheffield United are both just two points adrift – and The Blades have a game in hand.
Sheffield United in the Champions League is the sort of story that would have seemed impossible at the beginning of the season, but right now, the 6/1 odds on offer for them to finish in the top five seem highly generous. What’s more it would be a hugely popular result and no less than Chris Wilder and his men deserve after playing out of their skin all season.
The battle for survival
Things look just as dramatic at the foot of the table. Half way through the season, the only certainty seemed to be Watford’s relegation. However, over the past 10 games, The Hornets have been revitalised, a transformation summed up by that historic victory over Liverpool.
Norwich will need a miracle to stay up, and Aston Villa seem similarly destined to yoyo back to the Championship. It’s the third relegation spot that is hardest to call. Most likely, it will be a straight fight between Bournemouth and West Ham. Both are teams that have a habit of flirting with the drop zone but scraping through. Surely this year, that will be a bridge too far for one or other of them.