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  • David Tyrer

Carra: Title race now more about nerves than ability

At least that's the view of former Reds captain Jamie Carragher. The Sky Sports pundit believes that the final stretch is now in sight and it all comes down to who holds their nerve.

Man City are in action against a familiar opponent on Saturday at 12:30am, whilst Liverpool face Cardiff City on Sunday afternoon, before City have the Manchester derby on Wednesday night.

Following that, both sides will have a run of 3 games in as many weeks to the end of the season. Liverpool will have the added pressure of a 2-legged Champions League semi-final thrown in at the start of May.

But in his Daily Telegraph column, Carragher said: "The Premier League title race has ceased to be solely about ability. Now it is primarily about the psychology of Manchester City and Liverpool .

"One club is buzzing preparing for a Champions League semi-final, trying to feed off their winning momentum. The other is fighting against the prospect of a demoralising European setback having domestic repercussions.

"Assessing the mood of the two clubs in midweek, you would not believe it is City that has already won one trophy this year, reached the final of another competition and remain favourites to win the Premier League.

"Liverpool crave their first trophy of the Jurgen Klopp era yet this week feels particularly crucial for Pep Guardiola."

Yet, many believe that going out of the Champions League will only further City's push for a second Premier League title under the Spaniard, without the added games and distraction of the Champions League. Carragher disagrees on this point, though.

He continued: "I do not subscribe to the theory going out of the Champions League has made City’s task more straightforward, especially because of the emotionally draining manner of the exit.

"Facing Ajax would have made no difference to performance levels against Leicester City and Brighton, the fixtures that would have been most impacted by the additional workload. Those games would have made Ajax a tougher proposition, not the league opponents.

"My feeling throughout the title run-in is it is City’s next three games before the semi-finals kick-off – Spurs, Manchester United and Burnley – which will determine if they retain their championship."

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