Premier League talking points: Klopp's farewell, hungry Haaland, Pochettino's future

We pick out the big issues going into the final round of fixtures in the English top-flight season

Jurgen Klopp will take charge of his last game as Liverpool manager when they face Wolves at Anfield on Sunday. PA
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Will Haaland fire City to fourth title in row?

The goalscoring phenomenon that is Erling Haaland was at it again midweek with his double strike against Tottenham Hotspur firing Manchester City to within 90 minutes of a historic fourth title in a row and their sixth in seven seasons.

If City beat West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, then the latest Premier League crown is secured and if they beat Manchester United in next weekend's FA Cup final, then they will have followed up last season's treble with a double this time round.

Goal-hungry Haaland's record in front of goal has been impressive once again, if not as prolific as last season when he notched a remarkable 52 times in 53 games, including 36 in 35 league games that secured him the Golden Boot.

This campaign has seen him notch a “mere” 38 goals in 43 games and 27 in 30 Premier League matches which leaves his five clear of Chelsea's Cole Palmer in the Golden Boot race.

His plan for Sunday's game? “Relax. Don't think too much,” said the Norwegian. “Keep on doing what we have been doing now for 37 games straight, try not to think too much, focus and have fun.”

Can Liverpool give Klopp winning send-off?

And so the Jurgen Klopp-era at Liverpool comes to an end as the German coach takes charge of his team for a final time when they face Wolves in what is sure to be an emotionally-charged afternoon at Anfield.

It has not quite gone to plan for Klopp after the joy of lifting the League Cup in February thanks to Virgil van Dijk's last-gasp injury-time winner.

They were beaten by fierce rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals and then knocked out of the Europa League at the same stage by Italian side Atalanta.

Any hopes of Klopp winning a second Premier League title evaporated after dropping points to the likes of Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham during a frustrating run of results in April, meaning they will end the season third in the table.

Whatever the frustrations of the current campaign, the bond between Klopp and Liverpool fans remains as strong as ever after a reign that has seen him win seven major trophies across nine seasons – including a first Premier League title in 30 years.

“I have no doubt about our relationship,” Klopp said of Liverpool fans last week. “I appreciate that a lot. I can't yet put it really into words because I have to protect myself a little bit. The emotions will come out.”

Jurgen Klopp announces he will leave Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp announces he will leave Liverpool

Has Pochettino done enough to keep Chelsea job?

A rollercoaster first season as Chelsea manager for Mauricio Pochettino reaches its finale when they take on Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

Wednesday's 2-1 win at Brighton took Chelsea up to sixth in the table and gave their hopes of securing European football next season a major boost following a campaign that has seen sections of the fan base demand the manager's sacking at various points.

Avoid defeat against the Cherries and sixth place is in the bag and it will mean Thursday night matches in either the Europa League or Europa Conference League, depending on whether Manchester United win the FA Cup final and take their place in the former competition.

An end of season review will now take place which will decide whether Pochettino stays or goes. “If we split it’s not a problem, it will not be the end of the world,” insisted the Argentine last week.

But it would be a harsh exit for the former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain coach with only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool having picked up more points than Pochettino's side since December 26.

“We have improved results and performances,” said Pochettino after the Brighton win. “We talked about patience and when you need to build something you need time but it always looks like an excuse at a big club.”

Will away form cost Newcastle Euro spot?

It was a familiar tale for Newcastle in their 3-2 midweek defeat at Manchester United when they fell to an 11th away defeat of the campaign after a poor defensive performance.

At home, Newcastle are fourth in the form table on 44 points, behind only Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. But away from St James' Park they sit a lowly 15th having won just five times on their travels.

In 2022/23, the Magpies conceded 33 goals – the joint best defensive record alongside champions Manchester City. This time round they have leaked nearly double that.

Newcastle will be hoping to make it away win No 6 against Brentford knowing victory seals seventh spot which will get them into the Europa Conference League next season if Man City win the FA Cup next weekend.

“The way we defended the three goals wasn't good enough – this season compared to last we have conceded goals,” said manager Eddie Howe at Old Trafford. “It's something we have to change longer term.”

Will Sheffield United lose again?

It really has been a season of misery for relegated Sheffield United and their supporters going into their final game at home against Tottenham.

Rock-bottom of the table having won just three matches, conceding a whopping 101 goals along the way that included shipping four or more in a game against Newcastle (twice), Arsenal (twice), Burnley (twice), Brighton, Aston Villa and Manchester United.

With 16 points in the bag, they have at least avoided the ignominy of having the lowest total in Premier League history, an accolade currently held by Derby County (11 in 2007/08), with Sunderland second bottom (15 in 2005/06) and Huddersfield Town third (16 in 2018/19).

“It isn’t a broken football club. It isn’t. It's a connected football club that's had a bad season,” insisted manager Chris Wilder, who will be looking to end a six-game losing streak against Spurs.

Updated: May 18, 2024, 5:57 AM