Despite sitting comfortably in first place since early December, Manchester City are somehow still entering the last game of the season without having secured the title. Liverpool, having not lost a league game this calendar year, have remained hot on their heels, going into Sunday’s game against Wolves only a point behind their competition.
With their side facing mid-table Aston Villa, City fans will surely be confident in their chances, but there’s always a possibility that Villa, comfortably safe from the Burnley and Leeds relegation battle, will want to end the season with a bang.
Both squads have already proven themselves to be a cut above the rest in the 2021/2022 season, thanks in large part to their Latin American players, who have performed excellently all year, and will be desperately hoping to do so again on Sunday. Looking back to their exciting game in April, it’s clear that the two sides are evenly matched. So, will City’s Brazilian players retain their fantastic form and push their team over the finish line or will Liverpool’s Latin American stars take them one step closer to completing the historic quadruple?
Liverpool host Wolves at Anfield, and they’ll be hoping that their Latin American players can play their role in securing the victory. The potential arrival of Brazilian forward Antony in the summer will hopefully bolster their squad for next year, but for now, they’ll have to rely on the talent they’ve got currently.
Liverpool’s number 1, Alisson Becker, joined the club in 2018 from AS Roma, helping them to win the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup since his arrival. The Brazilian goalkeeper has been instrumental throughout the 2021/22 campaign, having kept 20 clean sheets out of his 35 Premier League appearances. If he can keep one against Wolves in the final game of the season, he’ll match his 2018/19 performance (21 clean sheets) that won him the Premier League Golden Glove award – the club’s first since Pepe Reina in 2007/08.
Since signing for Liverpool in January 2022, Luis Díaz has quickly become an instrumental member of the squad, scoring six goals in all competitions since his debut in early February. The Colombian forward has had an impressive month for the Merseyside club, having been involved in the FA Cup final against Chelsea and scoring against Tottenham to help keep Liverpool’s title hopes alive. Díaz also picked up an assist for Sadio Mané against Aston Villa and scored against Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final, suggesting that he’s really finding his feet at his new club.
Struggling with a hamstring injury, it’s unlikely that Brazilian midfielder Fabinho will make his thirtieth league appearance for Liverpool this season, although he’s hoping to be fit enough to face his former club Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Perhaps he’s not been quite as influential as Alisson and Díaz, but Fabinho is an integral part of the Liverpool squad nonetheless, and they’d certainly have felt more comfortable with him in the starting-eleven against Wolves on Sunday.
When asked about Liverpool’s injuries – which include Salah and Van Dijk – Klopp stated that: “It looks good, but the boys make steps and we will see. My preferred solution would that they all could play at the weekend for rhythm reasons… or at least could be on the bench and then we can bring them on.” It sounds like there’s still a chance that Fabinho could play a role in the Wolves fixture, which would be a relief for the Liverpool manager and fans alike.
Regardless of how well Liverpool’s Latin American players perform at the weekend, it will mean very little if City are able to triumph against Villa. With an impressive squad that is set to grow even more impressive over the summer, it’s clear who the favourites are to win the title.
Although Gabriel Jesus has perhaps not seen as much game time as he would have hoped this season – 27 appearances but only 20 starts for the Manchester-based club – he’s still been an in important member of the squad. His goal-scoring form within the Champions League helped them reach the semi-final, and his eight goals in the Premier League have helped to maintain City’s dominance at the top of the table. With rumours circulating that Jesus will be leaving in the summer, City fans will be hoping that he’ll leave them with a parting gift: the Premier League title.
Like Liverpool, Man City’s goalkeeper also hails from Brazil, and similarly to Alisson, he’s also managed to keep 20 clean sheets in the Premier League this season. Boasting an impressive 24 goals conceded from 36 appearances, Ederson has been involved in 27 of his team’s league victories in 2021/22. City will be hoping that he can find a twenty-first clean sheet against newly signed Coutinho and the rest of Gerrard’s squad.
Fernandinho, widely considered to be one of the greatest Brazilians to have ever graced the Premier League, will be hoping that one of his last actions at City will involve lifting the trophy for the fifth time in his career. The Manchester club have only lost one league game whilst Fernandinho was on the pitch this season, and should everything go to plan, he’ll help to clinch the title for a final time.
Acknowledging how important he’s been during his time at the club, Guardiola said: “I know what he has done, behind me, he handles many of our players and stars for the benefit of the team.” After an impressive 263 Premier League appearances, 186 of which he helped his club to win, Fernandinho – and City fans – will be hoping that he makes it 187 on Sunday.