Gary Neville says Man City blow could tip title towards Liverpool

Date published: Wednesday 4th September 2019 7:16

Gary Neville says Liverpool are playing at a level which could win them the Premier League title this season and believes Aymeric Laporte’s injury could prove key.

Laporte has undergone surgery on his right knee after being carried off in the 4-0 win over Brighton after a challenge on Brighton defender Adam Webster.

The defender looks set to be out well in to 2020 and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes the injury could be costly to City.

“If Laporte’s injury is a serious one, it is a big problem for City,” Neville told his podcast.

“I said a few weeks ago that I was struggling to understand why City didn’t follow through on Harry Maguire with Vincent Kompany leaving the club.

“I thought Kompany won them the league in the last 10 matches of last season when he played in all those games. Forget the Leicester moment which was just spectacular, I thought his leadership held them together at a time when Liverpool were applying pressure like you wouldn’t believe.

“In terms of that leader-type figure, I think Laporte has got that.

“What I would say is that if Laporte is out for a long time, I think it will cost City points because he is a dominant centre-back. I saw him in Spain three times and he’s a great player. It’s a real worry for City.”

The injury will leave Guardiola with just two fit senior defenders in John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi following the departure of Vincent Kompany.

City to have players who can fill in, such as Fernandinho who dropped back when Laporte was injured.

Neville added: “To be fair, there is no one better in the world at coaching than Pep Guardiola, full stop. And there is no one better at making what would be make-shift centre-backs play well.

“I watched two Champions League finals where Barcelona had Javier Mascherano and Yaya Toure playing centre-back against Manchester United. So, I’m not going to sit here and make the mistake of thinking Guardiola can’t turn a Fernandinho or a Kyle Walker into a top centre-back because they have that much of the ball during games.”

Neville has also been impressed by Liverpool and their 3-0 win at Burnley which maintained their 100 per cent start to the season.

“I was watching Liverpool at Burnley and I had that feeling,” added the former Manchester United defender.

“I said last year I thought they were a championship team. They are a championship team. They are playing at a level that could win the title.

“You watched them at Burnley, and they weren’t brilliant in the first 20 minutes, but they go and get a goal and then a second goal.

“You talk about the clinical element of a team. The defensive bit is right, the attacking bit is right, and the midfield looks solid and experienced. They are a title-winning team and they were last year, essentially with what they did.”

 

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