Analysis – Four things learned from the Premier League this weekend

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool celebrates victory after the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on April 14, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Premier League returned this weekend and provided plenty of entertainment across the division.

Liverpool and Manchester City both ensured the Premier League title race remained tight with victories on Sunday.

Tottenham and Manchester United continued their push for the top four while at the bottom; Burnley pushed Cardiff closer to relegation.

There were also wins for Fulham, Bournemouth, and Southampton in an action-packed weekend of football. Here’s what we learned from all the games:

A proper title race

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: Sadio Mane of Liverpool (10) celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on April 14, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester City’s dominance of the league last season meant we all forgot what a proper title race can be like.

It’s been a while since we’ve had two teams pushing to win the title as hard and relentlessly as Liverpool and Manchester City are this year.

When the pressure is on both teams, they seem to thrive rather than wilt under it. City showed none of it against Crystal Palace and Liverpool looked worry-free against Chelsea.

This is how the top of the league should be. Top teams playing excellent football and ensuring there is no easy victory. This year, we’ve got a proper title race on our hands.

Nobody wants Europe

Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Bernard of Everton reacts during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Everton FC at Craven Cottage on April 13, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Europa League can be a great competition to be in. It’s nowhere near as good as the Champions League, but for most teams, it’s great to be in Europe nonetheless.

Yet, the Premier League sides outside of the top six don’t seem that keen on securing their place in the competition next year.

CARDIFF, WALES - APRIL 21: Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk looks on during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool FC at Cardiff City Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Liverpool has to be perfect to win the title

According to Reds' footballer Virgil van Dijk, his team has to win their next three Premier League matches if they want to become champions.

With seventh place looking likely to mean Europa League football, no side is going out of their way to make the place theirs.

Wolves, Everton and Leicester’s defeats ensured the race for seventh remains as close as ever. Perhaps Watford can take the lead with a win against Arsenal on Monday.

Southampton, Newcastle & Burnley are safe

Burnley FC v Cardiff City - Premier League
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Cardiff City at Turf Moor on April 13, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

At one point it looked like there would be several teams heading into the final weeks of the season with relegation still looming over them.

That, though, is no longer the case. Southampton, Newcastle, and Burnley all but confirmed their status as Premier League teams this weekend.

Newcastle’s win over Leicester moved them 10 points clear, while Burnley went 11 points clear by beating Cardiff.

Southampton are eight points clear of the drop, a gap that should be enough to see them safe. There’s little worry of these sides getting dragged back into the mix.

Cardiff and Brighton in trouble

Burnley FC v Cardiff City - Premier League
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – APRIL 13: Neil Warnock, Manager of Cardiff City reacts during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Cardiff City at Turf Moor on April 13, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

With two relegation places already confirmed, it’s now between Cardiff and Brighton to fight to avoid finishing 18th.

The Bluebirds currently occupy 18th place in the table and are showing no signs of escaping. Defeat to Burnley was their fourth in five games and another display that had hallmark signs of a team who’ve given up.

Fortunately for them, there’s another team in terrible form. Brighton have fallen away in recent months, and the 5-0 defeat to Bournemouth was as shocking as it was terrible.

These two teams are in dire straits, and it looks extremely likely that one of them will be going down at the end of the season.