At the end of the storm there’s a golden sky, the song says. The Coronavirus tempest may be far from over but a gilded future for Liverpool appears within touching distance. Especially because their main domestic rivals, Manchester City, are facing the sort of troubles that might neutralise the Etihad’s threat to Anfield. Liverpool fear Pep Guardiola’s side above all other English teams. The season is virtually over at the top of the table. Second-placed City will kick off the renewal of fixtures in 12 days’ time hoping to close the gap to 22 points by beating Arsenal. Yet the next campaign may not be far away. The Premier League has discussed the possibility of a quick turnaround with August 22 mentioned as a potential start date for 2020-21. The football authorities are keen to restore the semblance of a normal routine as quickly as possible. City cannot look beyond next week, however. On Monday their appeal against the two-year Champions League ban imposed by Uefa for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations comes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. If the sanction is upheld, questions over the future of Guardiola and his squad will multiply. The Catalan is in the last year of his contract. The 49-year-old, whose work rate and level of intensity are breathtaking, may not relish a rebuilding phase if the club are unable to compete against Europe’s elite. The players, too, could consider their future. How Manchester City’s Sun Jihai changed China’s relationship with English football Kevin De Bruyne has already expressed concern about a possible ban. “Two years [outside the Champions League] would be a long time,” he said. The Belgian will be 29 at the end of the month. He is reaching the point in his career where the clock is ticking. Others in the squad are watching events at CAS with similar interest. City have reassured their players that the ruling will be overturned but Uefa are supremely confident that the verdict is correct. Losing in Lausanne would be a body blow to everyone at the Etihad. In that event, City are certain to take the case to the Swiss courts but it would have a huge impact on morale and generate a period of turmoil for the foreseeable future. For Liverpool, it would mean opportunity. Jurgen Klopp’s team turned 2019-20 into a procession and only City have the potential to realistically believe they can finish above Liverpool next season. The rest of the pretenders to the Premier League crown have significant work to do to become competitive in the coming months. Leicester City, who are in third place, do not have the staying power. Chelsea are youthful and appear to be buying well – they are expected to trigger Timo Werner’s £54 million release clause from RB Leipzig – but they will suffer growing pains under Frank Lampard. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has numerous problems at Old Trafford and is yet to prove whether he has the substance to manage Manchester United or whether his appointment was an act of rash sentimentality. Arsenal are in yet another rebuilding cycle and Tottenham Hotspur are directionless despite having Jose Mourinho at the helm. The only place where there is the right balance of manager, personnel, team spirit and confidence is Anfield. If City are removed from the Premier League equation by the knock-on effects of a European ban, Liverpool have a chance to dominate. After a 30-year title drought, Klopp can legitimately dream of establishing a dynasty in the style of Bob Paisley, who racked up back-to-back league successes three times in nine seasons in the 1970s and 80s. You’ll Never Walk Alone – a football coronavirus anthem, but not in Singapore Nothing can stop Liverpool bringing the Premier League trophy back to Anfield in the next month but, as it stands, only City realistically stand between Klopp’s men and a spell of supremacy. It is little wonder that, even against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, the mood among Liverpool fans is upbeat. The biggest cloud on the horizon is the inability of supporters to watch the team live and celebrate their achievements. That could change sooner than most people expect. Across Europe the football authorities are wrestling with the idea of opening up stadiums in the era of social distancing. Even in the United Kingdom, where the virus is nowhere near under control, the first positive noises are beginning to be heard. A number of Premier League clubs have carried out feasibility studies into getting the crowds back and the British government has made tentative suggestions that grounds could be reopened before Christmas. The timescale of restoring the game to something like its pre-Coronavirus state is uncertain and much may change as events develop but things are considerably more optimistic than they were a month ago. Premier League confident of restart despite two more testing positive for Covid-19 What will the sport look like in three months? The most likely scenario is that the Premier League will be in the process of starting next season. Liverpool will be champions and will remain the team to beat. The most intriguing question concerns City. For the past few years they have been one of the clubs that no one wanted to draw in the Champions League, a legitimate European power. If they fail to overturn Uefa’s sentence, they will be confined to the margins, unable to compete in football’s most glamorous and lucrative club competition. Their fate will be determined in the courtrooms of Lausanne. Everyone at the Etihad is holding their breath. If City lose, there will be little sympathy from their peers. No one at Anfield will shed any tears if Uefa are vindicated. A weakened City means even more opportunity for Klopp and his team. The future is bright enough for Liverpool but it may get even better next week.