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    Pablo Zabaleta celebrates with Manchester City team-mates after scoring in the final game of the Premier League season in 2012

    How Does Liverpool v Manchester City Battle Compare With Greatest Title Races?

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    Liverpool could win their first English Premier League title at the weekend if their rivals Manchester City slip up at Brighton. Sputnik looks at some of the greatest championship title races in the history of football.

    Even if Liverpool — who were last champions of England in 1990 — beat Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, 12 May, City can still win the English Premier League title — retaining it after winning it last year — with a victory at Brighton's Amex Stadium on the same day.

    "It's about us doing our own jobs, as a professional footballer you just want to go out and win the games you play," Brighton defender Lewis Dunk has said, denying claims they would roll over and let City win.

    ​This is not the first time a title race has come down to the final match of the season and the outcome is not always predictable.

    1988/89 English Football League

    The English Premier League came into existence in 1992, two years after Liverpool were crowned champions of England for the last time.

    Liverpool were utterly dominant in the 1980s, winning 10 titles between 1976 and 1990, and they were expected to win the league again in 1989.

    But Arsenal manager George Graham — who took over in 1986 — had created a great team, built upon the formidable defence of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.

    ​Arsenal were top of the table as the finishing line came into sight but they stumbled with a defeat to Derby and a draw against Wimbledon, allowing Liverpool to move ahead with only one game to play.

    The final game was Liverpool v Arsenal at Anfield, which had originally been set to take place a month earlier but was delayed because of the Hillsborough disaster.

    The Gunners needed to win by two goals and left it late, with midfielder Michael Thomas scoring in the 90th minute.

    His goal was the dramatic finale of Nick Hornby's classic novel Fever Pitch, which later became a film starring Colin Firth as an Arsenal fanatic.

    2011/12 English Premier League

    Manchester United dominated between 1992 and 2012, just like Liverpool had ruled the roost during the 1980s — with a dozen Premier League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.

    But Manchester City — whose wealthy new owners from the United Arab Emirates stumped up the money for Roberto Mancini to buy quality players like David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany — and Sir Alex disparagingly referred to them as "noisy neighbours".

    ​United and City were neck and neck through the spring of 2012 and it was down to the final game again.

    United were at Sunderland while City were at home to relegation-threatened QPR.

    Wayne Rooney put United in front in the 20th minute and the Red Devils looked as if they would win the title.

    When Pablo Zabaleta scored for City in the 39th minute they were back in front, but QPR equalised and then took the lead in the 66th minute.

    As both games headed into injury time United seemed to have the title trophy in their hands.

    But in the 92nd minute Edin Dzeko equalised for City and three minutes later Aguero got the winner and the Etihad Stadium turned into bedlam at City fans celebrated their first championship since

    2006/07 La Liga, Spain

    Barcelona and Real Madrid have been the two biggest teams in Spanish football since the 1980s and the head-to-head clashes between them are known as El Clasico.

    Real Madrid — the team which had been always been supported by and favoured by the dictator Francisco Franco, who died in 1975 — represented the Spanish establishment while Barcelona represented Catalonia and a certain rebellious streak left over from the Spanish Civil War.

    In 2006 Barcelona won their 18th La Liga title and the following year tried to defend it as Real, bolstered by the signing of Dutch goal machine Ruud van Nistelrooy from Manchester United, aimed for their 30th title.

    ​Real Madrid fell five points behind Barcelona — who had a 19-year-old Lionel Messi beginning to make his name for them — after losing 2-1 at Racing Santander on April 14, but the Catalans surrendered their advantage by losing against Villarreal and drawing against Real Betis.

    Real Madrid salvaged a 2-2 draw against Real Zaragoza in the penultimate weekend while Barcelona were held by crosstown rivals Espanol.

    On the final day of the season Real Madrid came back from a goal down to beat Real Mallorca 3-1, while Barcelona beat Gimnastic Tarragona 5-1.

    Both teams had identical records but Real Madrid won the title because of their superior record in the season's Clasicos.

    1995/96 English Premier League

    United's title win in 1996 will remain long in the memory, largely because of former Liverpool and England legend Kevin Keegan's infamous TV rant.

    Keegan was the manager of Newcastle United, who had created a formidable team including the likes of striker Les Ferdinand and midfielder David Ginola. At Christmas they were 10 points clear of Manchester United, but that lead vanished in the spring and Sir Alex's team pulled ahead.

    On 29 April Newcastle won 1-0 at Leeds to move within three points of leaders Manchester United with a game in hand and two to play.

    That game in hand was against Nottingham Forest and Newcastle were set to play in Forest captain Stuart Pearce's testimonial later in the summer.

    Sir Alex had suggested Forest might not try as hard against Newcastle as they had against United.

    ​Keegan went ballistic in a TV interview after the match.

    "When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds — and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce…I've kept really quiet but I'll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that. You can tell him now, we're still fighting for this title and he's got to go to Middlesbrough and get something — and I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it," Keegan ranted in his Yorkshire accent, gesticulating wildly.

    Sir Alex had clearly riled him, as was his intention.

    Newcastle were held to a 1-1 draw by Forest and then failed to beat Tottenham, so United won the title with a 3-0 win at  Middlesbrough.

    2004/05 Scottish Premier League

    Scotland's two biggest clubs are both based in Glasgow and are divided by years of sectarian hatred, so the rivalry between Celtic — whose supporters were traditionally Catholic — and Protestant Rangers is quite unique.

    Celtic were on the verge of claiming the Scottish Premier League title after a 2-1 Old Firm derby win over Rangers in April 2005 put them five points clear.

    But Rangers dragged themselves closer and it all came down to the last day of the season.

    Rangers were in Edinburgh, where they beat Hibernian 1-0 while Celtic were leading at Motherwell due to a Chris Sutton goal with only a few minutes to go.

    But Motherwell's Australian striker Scott McDonald — a former Celtic player — scored two goals in the dying stages of the match to snatch the title away from Celtic and give it to their arch-rivals.

    It will forever be known as Helicopter Sunday because the trophy was on its way by air to Fir Park in Motherwell to be delivered to Celtic before Scott McDonald's goals forced the chopper pilot to do a U-turn and head for Edinburgh.

    1963/64 Serie A, Italy

    The championship of Italy is known as the "Scudetto" and in 1964 it was a close race between Bologna and Internazionale of Milan.

    At the end of the Serie A season Inter and Bologna both had 54 points and although Bologna had the better goal difference, it was decided the title would be settled with a one-off play off match.

    ​The match ended 2-0 to Bologna with Danish striker Harald Nielsen, the season's top scorer, netting the second goal to seal the trophy.

    It was Bologna's seventh Scudetto but they have not won it since.

    Bologna's ultras are traditionally communist and violently opposed to the fascist hooligans of teams such as Lazio.

    One end of Bologna's stadium is named after Arpad Weisz, their Hungarian Jewish former coach who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

     

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    titles, championship, football, Serie A, La Liga, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, English Premier League, Sergio Aguero, Italy, Scotland, England, Spain
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