Gary Neville has warned that Manchester City could win the Premier League title by a massive margin, but Jamie Carragher has offered the Reds hope.
The two teams have fought fiercely for the top-flight crown on a number of occasions in recent years. In two of those respective seasons, City eased to a triumph in 2020/21 and Liverpool did the same in 2019/20.
Aside from those two terms, though, City have had just the slightest advantage. Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s men have edged out Jurgen Klopp’s side by a point on two occasions.
One of those came last season, when City finished on 93 and Liverpool on 92. In a dramatic final day, both sides came from behind to win – the Etihad Stadium club in more dramatic style.
And the two sides don’t look like slowing down this season, although former Manchester United full-back Neville thinks Liverpool could.
Speaking on The Overlap, the pundit spotted a potential Andy Robertson weakness against Erling Haaland. Haaland could have scored on his competitive debut for City in Saturday’s Community Shield win for Liverpool.
Neville said: “I don’t see many people going in that channel and getting joy. He’s leant on him and got his shot away and I thought that’ll go in at Anfield, that’ll go in at a game.
“I was a little bit like you [Carragher] I thought that game could easily have been 3-1 or 4-1 the other way on a different day.
“Last season we had a title race and I think Liverpool were at absolute breakneck, giving everything to hang in there until the end.
“Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if this season, if they [City] do win it by a big amount of points.”
Carragher offers Liverpool, Man City title verdict
Carragher admitted that he too can accept why City look favourites to win a third Premier League title in a row. However, he claimed two factors could swing the title race in Liverpool’s favour.
The first is that Virgil van Dijk – unlike after last summer’s recovery from a knee injury – is already up to speed. The centre-back and goalkeeper Alisson Becker have proved Liverpool’s leaders at the back since signing in 2018.
Carragher said: “If you get them [Liverpool] at their best, at the very, sort of, start of the season – and don’t forget, every season Van Dijk has been at Liverpool a full season, Liverpool have got over 90 points.
“The other thing is that Liverpool have got sort of three or four top players.”
With his final point, Carragher moved into a discussion about how many players from each team are heading to the World Cup in November.
The ex-Reds centre-back said: “I don’t know about City to be honest. It might be the same, not going to the World Cup.
“So, Luis Diaz is not going, [Mohamed] Salah’s not going. I don’t really know City, but there’s a few decent players sort of from Liverpool I think, you know, could that make a difference in the second half of the season.
“He’s [Klopp] brought younger players in now, so you know players had to move on at a certain stage. I mean, I actually think Liverpool have got more depth than City.”
Striker battle could define race
The fact that both players have brought in new strikers – and lost top players – this summer could also prove a major title race factor.
Former Borussia Dortmund hitman Haaland hopes to finish off chances for City in games they struggled in last term. The 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace was a prime example.
Why have Manchester City won the transfer window this summer?
Manchester City have broken a Premier League record this transfer window.
However, they have lost Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. It remains unclear how those departures will affect them this term.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have replaced Sadio Mane with Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has enjoyed a fine start to his Anfield career and will look to take that momentum into the new season.