MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 exit to Atletico Madrid was a bitter blow for Juergen Klopp’s side, but with their first Premier League title in 30 years inching ever closer, a Merseyside derby should certainly refocus their minds.
Liverpool could even secure the title in Monday’s clash against Everton at Goodison Park in the unlikely event that Manchester City, the only team who can mathematically catch Klopp’s team, were to lose at home to Burnley on Saturday.
Liverpool, who have a 25-point advantage, need six more points to claim the title, or a swing of six points between themselves and City.
It would be a surprise, however, if City were to lose to Burnley.
While Sean Dyche’s side are unbeaten in seven games, they have lost eight of their last nine meetings with City in all competitions, including two 5-0 losses at the Etihad last season and a 4-1 loss at Turf Moor in December.
Yet whatever the stakes at Goodison Park, Liverpool will know they are in for a tough night in front of a hostile crowd.
Everton lost 5-2 in the meeting at Anfield earlier this season but have not lost at home in the league since a November defeat to Norwich City.
While Carlo Ancelotti’s team were poor in a 4-0 loss to Chelsea last week their 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United in their previous outing showed how tough they can be to beat at Goodison.
Like Liverpool, Tottenham were also eliminated from Europe this week but unlike the Merseysiders, Jose Mourinho’s side are in desperate need of points if they are to have any chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Spurs are currently eighth in the table, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and a series of injuries, including to key striker Harry Kane, have hampered their form.
Mourinho comes up against his former club Manchester United on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are on a high after their derby win over Manchester City last weekend moved them up to fifth, just three points off Chelsea, extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are away to struggling Aston Villa on Saturday. Their former skipper John Terry is assistant coach of the West Midlands side, who are second bottom and smarting from a 4-0 loss to Leicester on Monday.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis