t has been a curate’s-egg of a season for Liverpool that has encompassed a change of manager, a Wembley final and a run to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
While the Reds have proved excellent in the cups and in one-off cup games, they have struggled to find rhythm and consistency throughout a disappointing league campaign.
The 3-2 defeat by Southampton on Sunday betrayed a soft-underbelly from a side who squandered the chance to record four consecutive league wins and reigniting their charge towards the top four by blowing a two-goal lead in the second-half.
Philippe Coutinho showed quick feet and a deftness of touch to race past Guillermo Varela before supplying a delightful dink over David de Gea to finish off Manchester United’s hopes of a remarkable Europa League fightback on Thursday.
Liverpool had been outplayed for much of the first-half at Old Trafford and had wasted golden opportunities to score a crucial away goal.
But when it mattered most the Brazilian magician stepped up and delivered, and he’s made a habit of doing exactly that since joining the Anfield club in 2013.
Wednesday night will see the conclusion of an epic Champions League double-header, with Bayern Munich and Juventus locked at 2-2 following a thrilling first leg in Turin in February.
Though many eyes will be trained on Arsenal’s attempts to overturn a 2-0 deficit away at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola and Massimiliano Allegri will be locking horns in a tie with huge ramifications at the Allianz Arena.
The incoming Manchester City boss needs a win to keep alive his dreams of a maiden – and final – Champions League triumph in Germany, but standing in their way are one of the form teams in Europe…
In-depth: After Maria Sharapova admitted to failing a drugs test at the Australian Open, what future in the game awaits the 29-year-old?
Sharapova fails drugs test – the background
Maria Sharapova is said to be facing a lengthy ban from tennis after testing positive for the use of meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
In a press conference on Monday the 28-year-old admitted to taking the substance for health reasons since 2006, which only became prohibited according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) at the start of the year.
Tottenham host Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, sandwiched in between their Europa League last-32 tie with Fiorentina.
A credible 1-1 draw in Italy puts Spurs in the driving seat for the return leg at White Hart Lane next Thursday before the bread-and-butter of the league campaign resumes against Swansea three days later.
With the Premier League unquestionably the No 1 priority for Mauricio Pochettino after the 2-1 win at Manchester City put them above Arsenal on goal difference and behind the leaders Leicester by only two points, where do the two cup competitions lie in the manager’s thinking?
With Manchester City fighting for silverware on all four fronts this season, Manuel Pellegrini is set to take the unprecedented step of playing a weakened side in the FA Cup fifth round tie against Chelsea.
City face the Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before travelling to Dynamo Kiev for a Champions League Last 16 tie on Wednesday.
The schedule doesn’t let up as Pellegrini then takes his injury-hit side to face Liverpool in the final of the Capital One Cup on February 28, before a league game at Anfield on March 2.
The Chilean manager identified Sunday’s clash earlier this month as an opportunity to rotate his side, but the prospect of him naming a young side is unprecedented in his time at the club.
A 3-1 win at Manchester City made Leicester favourites for the Premier League title for the first time this season, but does the run-in favour their chances?
With Leicester now five points clear at the top of the table as the final third of the season approaches, Claudio Ranieri’s men have become the team to beat.
Instead of Jamie Vardy, it was the unlikely figure of Robert Huth who bagged the goals that fired the Foxes to their biggest win of the season yet at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
With momentum now firmly in their favour, can Leicester keep it together for the final 13 games of the most unpredictable Premier League campaign in memory? Or will the pressure of the situation derail what should be a fairly straightforward final straight? Let’s take a look at the run-in for each of the top four clubs.