Stan Collymore says that it is beyond him how Manchester United have earned associations with a Premier League title charge this season.
United put together a 13-game unbeaten streak earlier in the season, leading them to the summit.
However, they have since failed to win in two games, picking up only one point. As such, Manchester City – who have won 12 in a row in all competitions – have picked up the mantle.
Chelsea also enjoyed a 13-game run without losing and Spurs have also spent time at the top. But both clubs now sit outside the top six, with the Blues sacking Frank Lampard after their drop-off.
Liverpool have come through their own blip and returned to the top four on Sunday. As such, Collymore believes that the Reds and City remain the standout favourites in the title race.
“The list of big-time chokers in this season’s Premier League title race is a long one,” the pundit told the Daily Mirror.
“Man Utd, Leicester, Chelsea, Spurs…. all choking to a greater or lesser degree at the precise moment everyone starts talking about them as real challengers.
“I’m baffled why so many people get lured into this, year in, year out. Several top-eight teams are built up way beyond their station after a few good results as we look for a potential surprise at the top.
“Even when it’s obvious who the real favourites are – Manchester City and Liverpool.”
City have won the title in two of the past three seasons, notching 100-point and 98-point totals in the process.
Liverpool fell just short in the 2018/19 campaign with 97, but reached 99 last term after earlier clinching the top spot.
As such, Collymore pointed out that such points tallies are proven markers of the pair’s credentials as title challengers.
Collymore declares Liverpool, Man City favourites
“If you’ve won the title recently, or run up huge points totals and come up short in the last three years, you automatically go into a title race,” he added.
“You tick most of the boxes as to what is needed to go over the 38 hurdles. Longevity, resilience, the ability to overcome injuries and a blip in form.
“Winners don’t clear 15 or 20 hurdles. The Premier League has 38 full hurdles of the most difficult course in world football. Why anyone would put the clubs above in a title race after less than half a season is beyond me.
“Keep saying to yourself, ‘if they’re in it with six to go, fine, until then it’s just a team in form’. It’ll save you a lot of hassle!
“I played in Liverpool teams who choked, bottled it. We didn’t have the fundamentals to back up a great result. You need experience to win titles and Man City and Liverpool have that. You need leadership and responsibility, players to fill the gaps during loss of form and injury.”
Injuries to key players such as Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have tested Liverpool’s resilience this season.
What’s more, fellow defender Joel Matip is out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage.