Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson claims that Liverpool and Arsenal are “the only contenders” who can compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.
With the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea having struggled since the new campaign began last month, Merson says that it will be a three-horse race for top spot:
“Liverpool and Arsenal are the only contenders for Manchester City this season. Liverpool were poor against Wolves first half, really poor. But they came out in the second half and blew Wolves away. The problem is you can’t be doing that against the better teams.”
“You don’t want to be going to the Emirates or the Etihad and playing like that, the game would be all over in the first half. You’ve just got to stick with Man City for as long as you can. Every game that goes by, you have to make sure you’re three points away from them, tops.”
As Merson rightly points out, Liverpool can’t afford to perform the way they did against Wolves last weekend if they want to be considered legitimate contenders for the title.
Even so, 13 points from a possible 15 is a very promising start to the season and manager Jurgen Klopp will be keen to carry on in the same vein.
Liverpool’s title credentials will be tested in upcoming fixtures
The Reds’ next four games are not easy by any stretch of the imagination. West Ham are in good form and it will be a tough game against David Moyes’s side on Sunday.
Away trips to Tottenham and Brighton follow, before the Merseyside derby after the next international break. If Klopp’s men come through those matches without dropping many points, it would signal that a title challenge is on the cards.
City’s injury problems could provide an opportunity
After their Champions League group game against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday evening, City manager Pep Guardiola said that his team is “in trouble”, with five key players on the sidelines.
With the Premier League champions taking on Arsenal and Manchester United in their next five fixtures, there is a chance that Liverpool could gain some ground and even build an advantage over their rivals in the next month or so. It is, however, probably unwise to underestimate the Citizens.