â€œLiverpool supporter here,â€ says Marie Meyer. â€œHaving the long wait ended by a lengthy passage of City doing pretty patterns then conceding a goal from another episode of comedy defending suits me fine.â€
They look like they donâ€™t truly fancy playing Liverpool with the title still at stake, which surprises me.
â€œChelsea might not have had that â€˜Aguero momentâ€™,â€ says Julian Menz, â€œbut weâ€™ll always have Lampardâ€™s 2-0 against Bolton. The moment I knew it was really true. The moment I got a bit overexcited and was asked to leave the pub, never suspecting that the bloke next to us would be interviewing me for a job the following Monday. The moral? Liverpool fans, it will be sweet, you will probably drink too much, no matter where or how it happens. Enjoy!â€
Half time: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City
Peep peep! Manchester City need to score at least twice in the second half of Liverpool will be champions. Christian Pulisicâ€™s 36th-minute goal, created ingeniously by Benjamin Mendy, gave Chelsea the lead against the run of play. City struggled to create chances, despite dominating possession throughout, and the use of Bernardo Silva as a false nine hasnâ€™t been a success.
45+1 min â€œAlonso already on a booking,â€ says Chimdindu Ndukwe. â€œThat is a red card waiting to happen especially with Mahrez on his side. A sub needs to happen soon.â€
45 min Loads of City possession, as has been the case through the half. But Chelsea have been tactically smart, defending very deep and rationing their counter-attacks. The scoreline doesnâ€™t particularly flatter them.
44 min â€œIâ€™ve been a Liverpool fan for 44 years,â€ says SiobhÃ¡n. â€œWeâ€™ve already been robbed of the genuine celebration of winning this season with fans in the stands and so on, so Iâ€™d at least like to see them win it live in a match so we can see the players celebrate at the whistle.â€
Itâ€™ll be interesting to see what the players do if they win it tonight. Iâ€™ve lost track of the guidelines on bubbles, but presumably some of them can sup Victory Liquor together? Or maybe they could just all meet at Bournemouth beach.
43 min Mendyâ€™s excellent low cross flashes across the six-yard box.
40 min In case youâ€™ve been socially distancing from the world in the past 24 hours, Manchester City need to win this game or Liverpool will be champions.
39 min â€œMate, I have a dilemma,â€ says Ian Copestake. â€œI need to head out to the shops or else repeat todayâ€™s below par crab pasta pappardelle arrabbiata. I also need crisps. But Liverpool might be champions by the time I get back and I will have missed the chance to mark the moment when the wait ended and the new wait began.â€
Whereâ€™s the nearest shop, in a different continent? Thereâ€™s still 50 minutes to play plus half-time plus stoppages plus drinks breaks, man!
38 min De Bruyne takes the free-kick short to the unmarked Mahrez, who smashes it over the bar from 15 yards. That was a decent chance.
38 min Alonso is booked for pulling back Mahrez just outside the area.
It was abysmal defending from City. De Bruyneâ€™s free-kick from the right was headed towards the halfway line, where Mendy and Gundogan were waiting. Theyâ€™re still waiting. They left the ball to each other, which allowed to Pulisic to nick possession and surge past Mendyâ€™s impetuous challenge. That took him through on goal, and he curled the ball calmly into the bottom corner.
33 min: Good save from Ederson! Willianâ€™s dipping corner from the left was headed towards goal by Christensen, who pulled away from Laporte in the six-yard box, and Ederson dived to his right to make an instinctive save.
32 min Chelsea are starting to look more dangerous on the counter-attack, and just created two chances in the same attack. First Barkleyâ€™s low cross evaded Pulisic at the near post, then Barkleyâ€™s shot was blocked by Fernandinho.
30 min â€œTequila Sunrise, Rob?â€ says Gary Naylor of Cityâ€™s kit. â€œMore like Pulisic.â€
Now thatâ€™s what I call a pun.
29 min Frank Lampard will be pleased with Chelseaâ€™s defending in the first half an hour. For all Cityâ€™s possession, their only chances came from a set-piece and a Kepa balls-up.
28 min â€œI trust nobody will refer to â€˜thirty years of hurtâ€™,â€ says Andrew. â€œThe last time Liverpool were champions was on 6th May 1991, when Arsenal won the title. So 29-and-a-bit years. By the same reasoning, the Baddiel, Skinner and Lightning Seeds lyric would be better as â€˜26 years of hurtâ€™.â€
I bet youâ€™re fun at socially distanced parties. (And yes, I had exactly the same thought.) Itâ€™s about time pedantry was formally classified as a health conditions. Itâ€™s not easy, you know.
27 min Alonsoâ€™s cross from the left isnâ€™t properly cleared by Laporte, who can only poke it straight to Barkley. His fierce left-footed shot deflects behind off Fernandinho.
25 min â€œMatt Dony has diamond shoes?â€ ponders Sarah Rothwell. â€œAs a Liverpool supporter, I think the debate of how best to win the league is a luxury of having such a sizeable lead. Last season, weâ€™d have taken it whatever way we could get it (and Iâ€™m pretty sure I spent most Man City matches optimistically giving their defence the long-distance evil eye).â€
The only slight downside to winning your first title for 30 years with a record seven games to spare after a relentless series of awesome victories is that there isnâ€™t a Sergio Aguero/Michael Thomas/Steve Bruce moment. But frankly, who cares. Chelsea didnâ€™t have a moment like that when they won their first title in 50 years, and they just about survived.
22 min Cityâ€™s attacking play has been slightly ponderous by their standards, though thatâ€™s probably due to the heat. They have still been much the better side.
20 min Itâ€™s still all City. If it carries on like this, Chelsea will need their five substitutes.
18 min: Good save from Kepa! Mahrezâ€™s free-kick from the left is headed towards goal by Fernandinho, in front of the near post, and Kepa tips it over acrobatically over the bar.
15 min Kepa passes the ball straight to Mahrez, who heads it straight back to Bernardo Silva in the area. He does brilliantly to control the ball on the chest and lob it over his own head, away from Kante. He manages to poke the ball past Kepa, but Rudiger senses the danger and is able to run the ball clear from inside the six-yard box.
15 min â€œPoetic and show-off victories are all for the romantic,â€ says Krish. â€œI see a realist in Klopp and he would happily settle the league issue tonight and leave the pub on Wednesday next.â€
13 min At the other end, Willianâ€™s low cross towards Mount is put behind at the near post by the stretching Gundogan. The resulting corner is cleared as far as Mount, who volleys it onto Fulham Palace Road.
12 min De Bruyne floats a sweet pass over the defence towards Bernardo Silva, whose backheader across goal is claimed by Arrizabalaga.
12 min Sterling cushions a volley infield for Mendy, who tries to burst between two defenders in the area and wins a corner. Itâ€™s headed away by Kante. City must have had at least 75 per cent of the possession.
8 min City have started really well. Mendy fizzes a low cross that is kicked away by Arrizabalaga at the near post, even though there were no City players near him.
7 min â€œNBC calls the City kit tequila sunrise,â€ says Mary Waltz. â€œI call it cynical corporate greed but taste is subjective.â€
6 min Bernardo Silvaâ€™s scuffed snapshot dribbles through to Arrizabalaga.
5 min Gundogan wins the first corner for City, who have started with impressive authority. Giroud clears at the near post.
4 min â€œAs a Liverpool fan,â€ says Stephen Carr, â€œI wish Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea tonight. Or Man City actually.â€
3 min Lots of early possession for City. These conditions are not ideal for chasing the ball all night.
2 min â€œAhoy hoy, Rob,â€ says Matt Dony. â€œIt probably wonâ€™t surprise you enormously, but this email isnâ€™t about the teams playing tonight. Before the Great Break, I was scared. I was worried. I was terrified by the thought of everything going wrong and City pipping Liverpool to the title. During the break, I had a word with myself, decided I was being an idiot, and made my peace with the fact that it really canâ€™t go wrong from here. (It canâ€™t!!) I need to enjoy whatâ€™s left of this season.
â€œAs such, Iâ€™m now torn. Obviously, a Chelsea win (or draw) gets everything done and dusted, and helps towards what should be a record-breaking margin. But, on the other hand, I really want to actually see Liverpool win it. Itâ€™d be better to have one of Liverpoolâ€™s results deliver the title, rather than Chelseaâ€™s. Of course, as far as dilemmas go, itâ€™s all a bit â€˜diamond shoes are too tightâ€™, but Iâ€™m just not used to being in this position. Who do I support tonight? Help!â€
If I was a Liverpool fan, I think Iâ€™d want City to win tonight. The opportunity to clinch the title away to one of your big rivals happens once in a lifetime, unless youâ€™re Arsenal.
2 min City are playing a typical 4-1-2-3, but with Bernardo Silva as a false nine. Sterling is on the left with Mahrez on the right.
The players emerge on a sweltering evening in west London. In a nod to the weather conditions, Manchester City are wearing their ice-lolly kit.
â€œHi Rob,â€ says Simon McMahon. â€œSo letâ€™s assume Man City win their next two games. Who do Liverpool play next? Iâ€™m hoping Bournemouth away, capacity 50,000 crowd at the beach, everybody happy. What could go wrong?â€
Arf. Itâ€™s Aston Villa at home, on the weekend the pubs reopen.
â€œGood evening from sunny Sweden,â€ says Julian Menz. â€œChelsea will also be looking to make a statement looking forward to next season. City arenâ€™t quite the unstoppable force they were, and Chelsea have done well to be in pole-position for 4th. The club is showing serious intent, and I can see next season being a lot tighter at the top (United will also be more of a threat).
â€œPlus, forgetting Cityâ€™s probable ban, finishing ahead of United and Wolves isnâ€™t the only option for Chelsea to qualify for the CL. Leicester look catchable, and I doubt Chelsea will be playing for the draw tonight.â€
â€œHaving seen plenty of City since life reemerged, it has been interesting to see what approach works best,â€ writes Ian Copestake. â€œRoll up in a ball and rock back and forth, or stand behind a wall and say you are gonna get your mates on them? I am hoping at least Chelsea will already have some of their mates to hand and be standing in front of the wall looking nawty.â€
Youâ€™re excited about Liverpool winning the title, then.
Pre-match reading and listening
The in-form Phil Foden has picked up an injury and is not in the City squad. There are a lot of right-sided players in their starting XI. Weâ€™ve listed it as the typical 4-1-2-3 but I have a hunch Pep Guardiola will play with De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva as false nines, a tactic that worked so well at Old Trafford and the Bernabeu earlier in the year.
Chelsea (4-1-2-3) Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Kane; Barkley, Mount; Willian, Giroud, Pulisic.
Substitutes: Caballero, Zouma, James, Gilmour, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Pedro, Abraham.
Manchester City (4-1-2-3) Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri; De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, B Silva, Sterling.
Substitutes: Carson, Harwood-Bells, Zinchenko, Otamendi, D Silva, Doyle, Palmer, Jesus, Sane.
Referee Stuart Attwell.
Hello. Chelsea and Manchester City have been the champions in five of the last six Premier League seasons, and tonight they are involved in another potential title decider. But it has the square root of bugger all to do with them. This is all about Liverpool, who will become champions of England for the first time since 1990 should City fail to win at Stamford Bridge.
City are going to finish second in the league whatever happens, and have a theoretically more important game at Newcastle in the FA Cup on Sunday. But they would love to land the first punch of the 2020-21 title race by delaying Liverpoolâ€™s coronation tonight and then beating them at the Etihad next week.
Chelsea need cold, hard league points rather than statements of intent. They still donâ€™t know whether they must finish fourth or fifth to qualify for the Champions League. Either way, they are only two points ahead of Manchester United and Wolves in fifth and sixth, and this is the start a tough run-in.
Six of Chelseaâ€™s last nine games are against teams in the top ten, most of them away from home. Even so, theyâ€™d probably be happy with a draw tonight. Theyâ€™re not the only ones.
Kick off 8.15pm.