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Mido: 'Difficult' for Liverpool to keep Salah

In this 1-on-1 interview, Egyptian great Mido gives his thoughts on Mohamed Salah's season so far and why Liverpool might struggle to keep him if Barcelona or Real Madrid attempt to sign the forward.

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 5:22 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 5:43 PM

The English Premier League title race caught fire Thursday after Manchester City beat Liverpool 2-1 to reduce the Reds' lead at the top of the table to four points.

Victory for Jurgen Klopp's men would have put the league leaders 10 points ahead of the defending champions and hot favorites to clinch the club's first league title for 29 years.

But though the finishing line will now feel a long way off for Liverpool's players, and fans, there are plenty of reasons, specifically statistics, to suggest that this is the season the Merseyside club will win a first EPL title.

Visit cnn.com/motorsport for more news and videos

Stats and more stats

First, to the most startling statistic of all. To over a century of convention.

Only once has an English club reached the new year unbeaten and not won the top division -- Sheffield United in the 1899-1900 season -- and no team in Premier League history has been seven points clear on New Year's Day (as Liverpool was) and failed to win the title.

For Liverpool fans starting to feel hot under the collar after their team's first league loss of the season, there's more.

Liverpool's haul of 54 points is the club's best return at the turn of the year in any season -- and the third-best by any side in top-flight history. Indeed, Liverpool is the first team to win all seven EPL games in December, a congested month in English football.

The stars are aligned, it seems. Or are they?

READ: Man City beats Liverpool to reignite title race

In eight of the past 10 EPL seasons, the leader on December 25 has gone on to win the title. The exceptions being, yes, you guessed it, Liverpool in 2008-09 and 2013-14.

But Klopp's side is different to the coruscating team of 2013-14 which was led by the brilliant Luis Suarez. The Reds have already kept more clean sheets this season than they did in the entire campaign under Brendan Rodgers four years ago, when City ripped the crown from their grasp.

Indeed, in that swashbuckling 2013-14 season Liverpool had conceded 50 goals -- just 10 goals have been shipped so far in this more measured campaign.

On paper, Liverpool has a favorable fixture list in January -- Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester -- but the Reds have lost 10 of 25 matches in all competitions under Klopp in the first month of the year which, according to Opta, makes up 29% of the German's defeats as Liverpool boss. Ominous?

READ: Holding Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia 'disgusting'

Statistics aren't everything, however. Though a first EPL defeat of the season was a setback, Liverpool wasn't outplayed by City. It was a tight contest between the two best teams in the country. Fine margins decided the match. In the first half it's estimated Liverpool were just 11.7 millimeters from taking the lead following a Sadio Mane shot that was cleared off the line.

As Klopp reflected post-match: "We were unlucky in our finishing moments. Unluckier than City I would say. [Leroy] Sane scores [off the post] and the situation with Sadio [Mane] when he hit the post [and misses].

"It was not our or City's best game, because we both made it difficult for the other team. I have already said to the boys this is OK. We lost it but it will happen. It is not nice but it is not the biggest problem."

Liverpool has to start winning again immediately (the next league fixture is away at Brighton on January 12), but so does City and third-placed Tottenham.

After victory at the Etihad Stadium, City boss Pep Guardiola told reporters: "Everything is open. Now it is tight again. Now we can rest and relax. I don't remember a league so tough, there are so many huge contenders fighting for the title. Every game is a final."

It would be unprecedented for Liverpool not to win the league from such a position of strength. For the optimistic neutral at least, whatever happens from now until May in the most intriguing EPL title race in years, the history books will be rewritten.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
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Floyd7563176
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Grant6844171
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1054807

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1225191356
Cuyahoga1074592069
Hamilton783261168
Montgomery50176996
Summit45557909
Lucas40298765
Butler37768570
Stark31513895
Lorain24246473
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Clermont19459229
Delaware18085130
Licking16149207
Fairfield15757197
Trumbull15627460
Medina14922259
Greene14706236
Clark13660293
Wood12806185
Portage12431196
Allen11352229
Richland11067198
Miami10548214
Muskingum8717127
Wayne8594209
Columbiana8569226
Pickaway8439121
Marion8390135
Tuscarawas8387240
Erie7600154
Hancock6730123
Ross6707146
Geauga6553146
Ashtabula6530165
Scioto6295101
Belmont5634158
Union558447
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Jefferson5343147
Huron5314114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5189120
Seneca5139120
Washington5087107
Athens503856
Auglaize476284
Mercer471984
Shelby456590
Knox4397108
Madison423959
Putnam421799
Ashland413488
Fulton410567
Defiance404296
Crawford3883101
Brown386955
Logan374476
Preble371098
Clinton362160
Ottawa357978
Highland347459
Williams328674
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Jackson308551
Guernsey307549
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Morrow275939
Hardin264764
Henry264366
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Van Wert239262
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Adams229152
Wyandot227553
Hocking209759
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Noble132937
Monroe128941
Morgan106823
Harrison105636
Vinton81614
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