Jamie Carragher has agreed with former Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand on who the favourite for the 2020/21 Premier League title is — Liverpool.
Speaking to TEAMtalk, the former England duo believe it won’t be as easy for the Reds this season, with our closest competitors improving this summer.
Chelsea have made the biggest improvements, signing Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Xavier Mbuyamba, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr and Kai Havertz.
There’s no doubt Liverpool are there – at the top – to be shot at, and the rest of the Premier League don’t need to be asked twice to try it, but Carragher said he’d welcome the competition.
“I’m a Liverpool man and I want to see them win the league again, but maybe not in the manner they did it last season,” the club legend said.
“We want and we need to see a competitive title race. I want to see the other teams get closer to Liverpool because we need it to be more competitive.
“We don’t want any team to be 20 or 30 points ahead and while I want Liverpool to win the league, I’d like to see them in the tight title race and winning it on the last day of the season.
“I expect all the teams trying to chase Liverpool to do better than they did last season, but I only see two teams in contention for the title and that will be the top two for the last couple of years.”
Ferdinand agreed with Carra’s sentiment, saying that he can’t see anyone catching the Reds, but injuries to certain key players could cause serious problems.
“No one can say Liverpool had a freak season because they finished so far ahead, but they did have one big factor on their side that they cannot guarantee,” the former United captain said.
“The key for them has been having their key players fit for the best part of two seasons. What we have yet to find out is how they cope if they lose a few big names for an extended period.
“Virgil van Dijk has played nearly every game for two seasons and it’s hard to keep that going. Mo Salah has been fit for all the big games and so has Sadio Mane.
“If they lose one of two of their players with big injuries, then we will see something else from them.”
For the sake of the Premier League, it’d be better if one club didn’t dominate every year – but expecting the Reds to do what they did last season again in ’20/21 is unrealistic.
Ferdinand’s point on Liverpool performing when a serious injury strikes a key player down is both true and a bit of a myth, to be honest.
While it’s fair to say van Dijk, Mane and Salah have had barely any problems, are Alisson and Jordan Henderson not important enough?
The Reds were without their first choice goalkeeper for a lengthy period of time at the beginning of the season, but Adrian was an acceptable stand-in.
Squad depth is clearly a slight issue at Anfield, with a serious injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold meaning Neco Williams starting most games (or playing someone out of position).
There isn’t anything wrong with the young Welshman, and he’s clearly one for the future, but the idea asking him to mark a player like Raheem Sterling isn’t attractive.