Premier League • England

Paul Merson reveals major Liverpool concern ahead of new season; not sure on Salah Golden Boot hopes

Sadio Mane, Joel Matip Liverpool 2022

Paul Merson has explained why he thinks Liverpool will be worrying over their ability to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title in the upcoming season.

The Reds missed out on the title by a single point to City last term and will certainly be hoping to go one better this time around. However, Merson thinks there are factors that could work against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Chief among them is the sale of Sadio Mane and doubts over how effective Darwin Nunez can be as his replacement.

When asked about the title race, Merson told Sportskeeda: “I think Manchester City will win the Premier League. But I have to say it’s not as much of a foregone conclusion as others make it out to be.

“Erling Haaland’s arrival is obviously a massive boost for Pep Guardiola, but it’s not the end of it with Liverpool still very much in the running. With the departures of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, Manchester City have lost at least 30 Premier League goals between the pair and that could turn out to be a huge problem for them.

“The only worry for Liverpool, on the other hand, is that they’ve lost an unbelievable player in Sadio Mane, who scored big goals for them over the years.

“They’ll have to rely on Darwin Nunez to settle as quickly as Luis Diaz did, which is obviously a long shot because the Colombian took to English football like a duck to water.

“If Jurgen Klopp can get Nunez firing immediately, it’ll be tight once again,. But if that doesn’t happen, I think Manchester City should win the Premier League.”

Harry Kane for Golden Boot winner

Merson also gave his prediction on the Golden Boot winner, which was won jointly by Mo Salah and Son Heing-min last season.

He added: “I always go for Harry Kane when someone asks me to predict the winner of the Golden Boot because he’s some player. He had three league goals last season until December but ended up finishing just four shy of Mohamed Salah and Heung-min Son, who shared the Golden Boot with 23 goals apiece.

“The only issue is that Kane might not play every game this season due to a number of reasons.

“For starters, his injury-record doesn’t make for good reading and to make matters worse, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is coming up in December, so he could well be rested to stay fit for the whole season. Additionally, the arrival of Richarlison could see Antonio Conte rotate his star man, so it’ll be really interesting to see how this one pans out.

“Erling Haaland obviously deserves a mention and is likely to be up there fighting for the Golden Boot, while Gabriel Jesus could relish being the protagonist at Arsenal. The Gunners always create chances, so the Brazilian could be one to watch out for.

“Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez also has to be up there, doesn’t he? I’m intrigued to see how this lad turns out, because I haven’t seen much of him so far. Is he as good as his price tag suggests? Only time will tell.

“Mohamed Salah will also be up there, as he always is. He signed a long-term deal with Liverpool and already has three Premier League Golden Boots to his name. Who is to say he doesn’t have another one left in him?”

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