Which teams can halt Liverpool’s title charge?
Liverpool’s recent 3-1 Premier League win over Manchester City opened up an eight-point gap between the Reds and closest challengers Leicester City. With the Reds unbeaten in their opening 12 league games, dropping points in only one match, it’s no surprise that many are saying this is Liverpool’s title to lose.
But Premier League titles are not won in November, and there is a long road ahead if Liverpool are to end that 30-year wait for top-flight glory. Liverpool have squandered title-winning positions in the past, and that will inspire confidence in the chasing pack. Let’s take a closer look at the three teams hoping to defy the football odds for today and wrestle the top spot from Liverpool’s grasp.
Even though Man City sit in fourth place at the moment, many would agree that they are the main challengers to Liverpool this season. Winning is a habit, and Man City have been a winning machine over the last two seasons under Pep Guardiola. Last season’s domestic treble was proof of this, and they will not roll over without providing stern competition for the Reds.
Man City can take confidence from what transpired in last season’s title race. At one stage around the midway part of the season, Liverpool held a seven-point lead over the Manchester club, but a run of poor form from Liverpool in January saw City get back in the hunt. Given that the Reds’ performances this season have often been sub-par despite their good results, Guardiola’s side will be confident that sooner or later Liverpool will fail to grab three points.
Man City’s strength in depth is also a key factor. They have an abundance of talent in midfield and up front, and even if one of Sergio Agüero or Kevin De Bruyne were to pick up an injury, they have the quality on the bench to replace them. If Liverpool were to lose Fabinho or Roberto Firmino to injury, it would be difficult for the Reds to replace their vital roles.
Although nine points may seem like a significant lead, City have the quality and experience needed to close the gap.
Leicester have gone from strength to strength since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers in February. This season has seen the Foxes rise to another level, as they currently sit in second spot in the Premier League.
Their aim this season will have been to challenge for a place in the top six, but the way the campaign has panned out so far, Leicester may fancy a stab at winning their second Premier League title. Rodgers has put together a solid, well-rounded team with defensive solidity and attacking flair in equal measure.
Their transformation from a mid-table team to top-four contenders has been remarkable. With many fans considering this current squad better than the title-winning side of 2015-16, there’s no reason why Leicester couldn’t challenge Liverpool for the rest of the campaign.
Chelsea’s creaky defence in the first few weeks of the season meant that few were considering them as challengers for the title. But a fine run of form in recent weeks has seen Frank Lampard’s side establish themselves in the upper reaches of the table, where they now sit in third place.
The advantage Chelsea have is their youthful flair and exuberance. Lampard has given first-team opportunities to the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, and they have repaid him with some stellar performances. Whether the Blues have enough quality in the squad to maintain a title challenge is up for debate. With confidence flying high at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea fans will be eager to stay as close to the league leaders as possible.
There is a long way to go in this Premier League season. Liverpool have shown impressive strength of character to win games where perhaps they didn’t deserve to. But rarely does a title race go by without a few twists and turns along the way. The Premier League’s other title hopefuls must be ready to pounce when Liverpool stumble.