Manchester City are under more pressure than Liverpool in the Premier League title race, which could be all over by January, according to Sam Allardyce.
The Reds have so far showed no signs of cracking as they sit, still unbeaten, six points clear at the top of the table.
But it’s not the same story for City, who slipped to third with back-to-back defeats over the Christmas period.
The defending champions now sit one point behind second-placed Tottenham and seven adrift of Liverpool at the top.
Jurgen Klopp’s side face a run of tough fixtures, as they host Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday before an away trip to face Man City on January 3.
And Allardyce believes the Reds could have the title all-but wrapped up if they beat Pep Guardiola’s side on their own turf.
Speaking on Friday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Big Sam said: “Going six points clear in such a short space of time has shifted the balance of mental strength into Liverpool’s favour.
“I think the pressure will mount more on Manchester City than it will for Liverpool.
“Liverpool haven’t even lost a game yet. They’re going to have to lose three games and Man City are going to have to win three games to get past them now and I think that’s going to be a difficult task. Not impossible, but very difficult.
“That Man City v Liverpool game [at the Etihad on January 3] is going to be a real big, big game. It’s always a big game but it’s even bigger now.
“If Liverpool extend their lead in that game then it could nearly be curtains, game over, for anybody trying to catch them.”
Allardyce has also revealed his admiration for Tottenham this season.
The north London side have been tipped to challenge Liverpool and City, with Harry Redknapp telling talkSPORT they are firmly in the ‘three-horse race’ for the league title.
Big Sam sees Liverpool as the clear favourites, but the former England boss has nonetheless been impressed by Spurs’ confidence and free-scoring style.
“Tottenham have been terrific,” he added.
“There is no doubt about the three teams with the most quality and ability to put teams away.
“Tottenham have really emerged this season as a big contender now.
“Their confidence is fantastic and they are picking up points away from home with is another good sign. They don’t mind want ground they’re playing on, they seem to turn it on.
“It’s the size of the score they’re winning by, they’re putting teams to bed with three, four and five goals and I think that’s big key element in what Tottenham are trying to do”.