London: Sadio Mane, one of the architects of Liverpool’s historic run over the last years, conceded their Premier League title hopes are over and the main target now is to win the Champions League.
Liverpool ripped up the record books last season on the way to their first English top-flight title in 30 years, but a season marred by injuries and poor form has left the club sixth and trailing leaders Manchester City by 19 points. They, however, should not have a problem against Sheffield United - who have lost 20 of their last 25 games - in the upcoming away game on Sunday.
“Our target from the beginning was the Champions League, the Premier League and also Cup games. And now, I can say it’s over for the Premier League ... it’s too much,” Mane told ESPN.
“In our head, it’s always ‘never give up’ and we won’t give up, but for sure, City are a good team and they’re flying.”
Mane said Liverpool will shift focus to Europe. The Anfield club defeated RB Leipzig 2-0 in the round of 16 first leg last week.
“The Champions League, that is our main target,” he said. “To win it, not be second, but it won’t be easy.
“You’re going to face the best teams in Europe, but we’re here to beat the best in the world.”
Match-by-match facts and statistics ahead of the 26th round of from February 27-March 1:
February 27 (Saturday): Manchester City vs West Ham United (4.30 pm UAE) City are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games against West Ham (W8 D2).
West Ham have won two of their 23 Premier League away games against the league leaders (D3 L18).
City winger Raheem Sterling has been involved in 14 goals (eight goals and six assists) in 15 Premier League games against West Ham, more than he has against any other opponent in the league.
West Bromwich Albion vs Brighton & Hove Albion (7pm): West Brom have not lost in 10 previous home league games against Brighton (W6 D4).
Brighton have won one of their 11 top-flight meetings with West Brom (D6 L4). Brighton have lost one of their last six away league games (W2 D3).
Leeds United vs Aston Villa (9.30 pm): Leeds are looking to complete their first league double over Villa since the 1975-76 season. Villa have won two of their last 17 away league games against Leeds (D9 L6).
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has scored five goals in three starts in all competitions against Villa.
Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (12 midnight): Newcastle are without a win in their last four home league games against Wolves (D2 L2). Wolves have won three of their last four Premier League games (D1), as many as they had in their previous 16 (D5 L8).
Newcastle have had a player sent off in each of their last three home league games against Wolves.
February 28 (Sunday): Crystal Palace vs Fulham (4 pm) Palace have won their last three Premier League games against Fulham.
Fulham are unbeaten in their last six Premier League away matches and have won two of their last three Premier League games (D1), as many as they had in their previous 24 in the competition (D9 L13).
Leicester City vs Arsenal (4 pm): Leicester have won four of their last six Premier League matches against Arsenal (D1 L1).
Arsenal have lost their last three away Premier League matches against Leicester. Only Wayne Rooney (12) has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal than Leicester striker Jamie Vardy (11).
Tottenham Hotspur vs Burnley (6 pm): Spurs have won five of their six home Premier League games against Burnley (D1). Burnley are aiming for their first away top-flight win against Spurs since Oct. 1974.
Spurs have lost five of their last six Premier League games (W1), more than they had in their previous 28 in the league (W14 D10 L4).
Chelsea vs Manchester United (8.30 pm): Manchester United have won their last three away games in all competitions against Chelsea.
Chelsea have not lost four consecutive home games in all competitions against an opponent since a run of four against Watford between 1981-86. United forward Marcus Rashford has been involved in seven goals (five goals and two assists) in all competitions against Chelsea - something which he is yet to achieve against against any side.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool (11.15pm): Sheffield United have lost 20 of their 25 Premier League games this season (W3 D2) - the fewest number of matches a team has taken to reach 20 defeats in a single campaign in the English top flight.
Liverpool have won their last four Premier League games against Sheffield United. The Reds have conceded 34 goals in their 25 Premier League games this season, one more than they did in the whole of their 2019-20 title-winning season.
March 1 (Monday): Everton vs Southampton (12 midnight): Everton are unbeaten in their last 15 home Premier League games against Southampton (W10 D5). They have lost their last three Premier League home games, last losing more consecutively at home in the top-flight between April-September way back in 1958 (seven).
Brazilian Richarlison is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League games for Everton for the first time since December 2019.