Yesterday was the first long-awaited clash of the season. The two present day juggernauts of the Premier League went head to head. Liverpool vs Manchester City, at Anfield, a potentially title deciding game. Yes, even this early on. Despite the expectations of a tense affair, the Reds came out on top with a comfortable 3-1 win. Klopp’s side are now 8 points clear in 1st, with City dropping to 4th, below Chelsea and Leicester.
We’re not even midway through November and pundits are already saying the title race is over. That’s a testament to how well the red of Merseyside have been this season. As I said, we’re still quite early in the season, but they’re playing like a title winning side. Scoring goals, keeping it tight at the back, grafting out hard results when they’re playing well and of course an aspect of luck. Let’s not get into VAR, we’ve done a whole separate article on that.
Yet we cannot ignore the brilliance of Chelsea and Leicester. Frank Lampard’s side have been a breath of fresh air this season. Attacking football, exciting players, a vision for the future and despite their transfer ban, The Blues find themselves in 3rd place, level with the Foxes. Incredible work from their all time scorer. As for Leicester: wow. Brendan Rodgers has galvinised a side full of talent from top to bottom and taken them to 2nd place. The 2015/16 champions dispatched Arsenal over the weekend and no one wants to play them. The neutral’s team of choice.
How it could go wrong for Liverpool
So even with the large point gap, could Liverpool be caught? As I aforementioned, pundits are ruling it out. The mentality the Champions League holders are showing is elite. Winning in the dying embers of the game at Villa Park from what seemed like certain defeat is a testament to the side’s character. They won silverware last season and they’re not slowing down.
But playing devil’s advocate, are they one injury away from a serious problem. Trent and Robertson are instrumental to Liverpool’s success. If one of them pulls a hamstring or sprains an ankle, where does the pressing and world class crossing come from? Same with the centre backs, it’s hard to fill the boats of the world’s best in Virgil Van Dijk. Joel Matip has been superb this season too and has had some injury trouble recently. Then of course the front three. All 3 are world class and even though Divock Origi is the DEFINITION of a big game player, I doubt he can fill their boots for a series of games.
First XI: Outstanding. But other than that, it’s slightly worrying for Klopp. I struggle to see that side staying fit for the whole season.
Premier League dark horses – Issues?
So we’ve spoken about how Liverpool could drop points, can the other 3 keep up though. The Citizens are obviously in a defensive crisis, which has seen them lose 3 games already in 2019/20. These a long term back line issues too, and the likes of Laporte will only be back after the new year. They can dominate their opponents all day, but will they be able to see out 1-0 or 2-1 wins? I’m not so sure.
As for Chelsea and Leicester, they’re dark horses. Not putting them in the same boat as City would be doing a disservice to how good they’ve been this season. I look at Chelsea and I see squad depth, Leicester not so much. Consistency could be an issue for both. Of course both are Premier League winners and have the experience of a title race. But can they maintain this electrifying start to their campaigns for the full season? I hope they do so we can get exciting title race once again this year.
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