Paul Merson has questioned whether Manchester City will improve on last season, giving Liverpool encouragement as they aim to win back the Premier League title.
Jurgen Klopp’s side won the English league crown in 2019/20, finishing 18 points ahead of Manchester City on 99. However, the Manchester club have still dominated the competition by lifting four of the last five Prem titles.
It went down to the final day last season. Liverpool thought they were going to snatch the trophy from City when Aston Villa went 2-0 up at the Etihad, through Philippe Coutinho of all people.
Liverpool beat Wolves 3-1, meaning they essentially did all they could do. But it wasn’t enough as City completed a dramatic comeback against Villa, mainly thanks to Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, to finish one point ahead of the Reds.
Both teams have brought in players this summer in an attempt to get the better of their title rivals, as well as future-proofing their respective squads. Liverpool have signed Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay.
City, meanwhile, have completed deals for Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega.
The Citizens have also trimmed their squad by allowing Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to join Arsenal. Plus, Raheem Sterling has signed for Chelsea in a £50m transfer.
Merson thinks these departures could result in City beginning the new campaign slowly, which would be a major boost for Klopp and Liverpool.
Paul Merson worried about Man City exits
“They are losing a lot of good players who have been important for them, and we don’t know how quickly the new signings will adapt,” Merson said (via the Daily Express).
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they start the season slowly, and you don’t want to give anyone a head start in this league or it can be hard to catch up.
“Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez could turn out to be the best signings ever. Haaland could be unreal. But it takes time to get used to Pep Guardiola’s system.
“And it takes time to adapt to a new league and settle in a new country. There’s no guarantee it works straight away. I think it’s definitely: ‘Watch this space’.”
Merson raises a good point. City have sold several squad players, who become important when they have to compete in several matches per week.
Having less options could result in Guardiola’s side tiring quicker, and therefore picking up less points.
However, City still have fantastic stars in their ranks. They are one of the few teams who will be able to overcome a big points deficit if they do start the season slowly.
Meanwhile, a pundit thinks Liverpool supporters will be ‘over the moon’ with Nunez’s recent display against RB Leipzig.