Manchester City know they must keep themselves in a position to pounce if English Premier League title favourites Liverpool slip up.
City, who have two games in hand, will play Sunderland on Wednesday night.
Liverpool’s 3-2 victory at Anfield on Sunday allowed the Reds to stay clear at the top of the table and extend their advantage over third-placed City to seven points.
That will be an unbridgeable gap if Liverpool win their remaining four games to lift their first top-flight championship since 1990.
But Brendan Rodgers’s side still have to face title rivals Chelsea, giving a glimmer of hope to City who would finish top if Liverpool fail to win just one of their games and City take a maximum 18 points.
Four of City’s remaining fixtures are at home, starting against a Sunderland side which has failed to win in their last nine games and who were beaten by City in the final of the League Cup at the start of March.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to fight to the end and defender Martin Demichelis believes City still have time to overhaul Liverpool after pushing the leaders all the way in Sunday’s epic encounter on Merseyside.
“We showed real fight until the end. No-one left the stadium feeling like they were champions. We have plenty of matches left,” said Demichelis.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a more positive result but we can still bring something positive before the end of the league.
“We have seen in football that they can make mistakes. Hopefully we can win the rest of our matches and expect some mistakes from Liverpool.”
City captain Vincent Kompany, whose error led to Liverpool’s winning goal from Philippe Coutinho, re-iterated the “never give up” message and is expected to be fit to face Sunderland after an injury scare prior to the Anfield game.
Midfielder Yaya Toure looks unlikely to play after limping off at Liverpool with a groin injury but City should still have enough to beat a Sunderland team which is in freefall and heading towards the Championship at an alarming pace.