Sunday is the final curtain on the 2013/14 Premier League season and will pretty much everything apart from the title race decided, attentions will be firmly fixed on events at Anfield and the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City just need to not slip up and they will retain the Premier League title that they lost last season to their neighbours, Manchester United.
Liverpool need to win and hope that City lose to West Ham. Should that happen, the Reds will lift their first title in 24 years, and it would go down in history as one of the most dramatic days in English top-flight history.
Two former Liverpool players will need to give their old club and its supporters an enormous favour on Sunday. Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing didn’t have the best of times on Merseyside but an FA Cup final appearance as well as a Carling Cup medal will suffice.
Both sold onto West Ham, they now must bring together their best performance in years and hand the title to Liverpool. However unlikely it may seem, Liverpool fans must hope that their former winger and striker duo can help them out.
Andy Carroll has a clear purpose on the football pitch: Rough up the defenders by throwing yourself around, winning headers, holding the ball up and acting as the main focal point of West Ham’s attack. To assist him in this, he has Downing who can cross all day long to the strong Geordie. Their combination did not work well at Liverpool but it simply has to on Sunday.
Carroll has had his injury problems this season, forcing him to play just 14 games. However, in that time, he’s won an unbelievable 128 headed duels. That’s just over nine per match – incredible. It is quite clear how he is suited to West Ham’s style under Sam Allardyce. He’s powerful and he wins headers.
He’s also created 15 chances in those 14 games, too. The majority of them are knock-downs from set-pieces. On form, Carroll is a lot to handle and hard to cope with. Liverpool supporters will be hoping that Carroll shows up on Sunday and not the one they became accustomed to.
His partner in crime – if you will – has completed the most crosses in the Premier League this season. Downing has completed 81 crosses, 17 more than Robert Snodgrass. That is from an attempted 283 so he’s not very successful but crossing can be quite tedious and hard to work with.
Carroll benefits from it massively as he has hit 27 shots with his head, which is just four short of Olivier Giroud, who leads the way in the league.
Downing has created 60 chances this season, four more than any of his teammates. So should Carroll and Downing play to their strengths on Sunday – crossing and heading – they could cause an almighty upset.
Carroll scored the goal that beat Everton and sent the Reds to the FA Cup final in his time at Liverpool, but should he score the winner against Manchester City on Sunday, he will be forever remembered and welcomed on Merseyside.
The stage is set for one of the most dramatic days in Premier League history and who would have thought it could Liverpool would rely on Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing?Published 11 May 2014, 11:59 IST