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By ESPN Staff

Bruce writes off Liverpool's future title hopes

Liverpool have been warned that it could take them years to break Manchester United's stranglehold on the Premier League.

The Reds next take the field at West Brom, but by then United are expected to have sewn up their third successive title by taking the one point they still need from the clash at home to Arsenal.

The warning over Liverpool's future ambitions comes from a Manchester United legend, their former captain Steve Bruce.

Bruce's Wigan could not halt United's progress on Wednesday, and he feels Liverpool will also struggle to get on terms with the current European and world champions in the foreseeable future.

The Latics boss has bitter memories of United's attempts to overtake a dominant Liverpool side during his early years as a defender at Old Trafford.

He said: "When we were chasing for the title back in the 80s and 90s, it was always Liverpool we were chasing because they always seemed to win it.

"Now Liverpool are in the same position, and they have got to overtake a really young, vibrant Manchester United to win the title. They may look at that team and wish there was some old ones in it!

"But they will keep trying, Liverpool demands that, but it will be very, very difficult for them to overtake United again.

"United tried for 26 years without winning the title, and now they have won it so many times since and look likely to do it again now. The first time is always the most difficult after so long.''

Xabi Alonso will return from an ankle injury to face West Brom at The Hawthorns, where Liverpool can all but condemn the midlanders to relegation with a win.

The Spain international missed last week's win at West Ham with the injury, where Fernando Torres was withdrawn in the second half following concerns over his hamstring problems.

But Torres will also feature against relegation-haunted Albion, while Javier Mascherano has also shaken off an ankle problem.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has refused to concede the title to United, and hopes Arsenal can do the Anfield men a favour.

He said: "We have confidence that Arsenal will play a good game. They have lost their last two (in the Champions League and the league to United and Chelsea) and this time you will see a totally different team intent on proving something about themselves.

"If they do that, hopefully it will give us our chance the following day.

"What ever happens, I am really pleased that we are in this position at the end of the season. But I am certainly not giving up on the title, we must always be positive.''


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