Can Liverpool Finally End Manchester City’s Dominance of the Premier League?

When the dust had settled on the 2018/19 Premier League season, the margin of victory that Manchester City enjoyed – just one point over Liverpool – ensured that this was one of the closest title races in the history of the English top-flight.

Such fine margins can be easily overcome where the champion’s standards fall or the challenger finds an exponential gain from somewhere, and as we head towards the festive period it’s clear that both of those things have happened to the Premier League’s main protagonists.

Manchester City are struggling defensively. Knee surgery will keep key man Aymeric Laporte out for the foreseeable future, while an injury to John Stones has left midfielder Fernandinho filling the void in the centre of defence for the first time in his career at the age of 34. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but how costly could the decision to release Vincent Kompany prove to be?

It’s a weakness that has been exposed at times, particularly by Everton for a 15-minute period in the first half of their encounter where the champions were all at sea.

Can Liverpool Finally End Manchester City's Dominance of the Premier League?

‘Mo Salah’ – Kevin Walsh via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As for Liverpool, they are improving without even bringing in any new faces. Roberto Firmino is playing some of the best football of his career, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are maintaining their high standards and young guns like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson continue to mature and grow as footballers.

When Alisson returns from injury, Liverpool will be at their absolute peak.

And so the latest outright winner Premier League betting odds make for interesting reading, with Manchester City posted as a narrow odds-on favourite by the bookmakers and Liverpool a few points behind.

But based on what we have seen so far, are those odds accurate? Or should Liverpool be considered the favourites to claim a first-ever Premier League title?

Here are three arguments to consider:

The Case for Liverpool – City Can’t Defend

It’s true that you can win football matches even when you are conceding goals – you simply have to outscore your opposition.

And let’s face it: Manchester City are not short of goals in a squad resembling a football equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters.

But fine margins, as already noted, could be the difference. And there’s the possibility that City will drop points if they cannot keep clean sheets along the way – evidenced by defeat against Norwich and that unfortunate defeat to Tottenham.

It’s not just in the centre of defence where the problems lie. Kyle Walker has lost that yard of pace that made him such a formidable right back, while Oleksandr Zinchenko simply isn’t a top-level left back – the injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo are an ongoing worry.

The Case for City – Liverpool Rely on the Few, Not the Many

Imagine a scenario where Mo Salah or Virgil van Dijk pick up a season-ending injury.

That would surely prove catastrophic for Liverpool’s title chances, and just goes to show how fragile their grip on the race for the Premier League trophy is.

Take out Salah, and in comes Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri. Neither are what we could an elite-level attacker, and suddenly the Reds are losing goals and assists in the absence of the Egyptian.

Remove van Dijk from the starting eleven, and in comes Joe Gomez or Dejan Lovren. Neither possesses the poise or the authority of the peerless Dutchman.

It’s a hypothetical situation, of course, but it’s on such rocky ground that Liverpool’s title bid walks.

The Case for City – Been There, Done It

There is a stigma attached to Liverpool and their pursuit of a first-ever Premier League title.

For one of the biggest clubs in the world, it’s is downright bizarre that you have to go back three decades to see the last time that they won their domestic league title.

There has been near misses, of course, including last season and the infamous Steven Gerrard slip of 2013/14 that cost them the silverware.

That has become a psychological block, and that’s why Manchester City – who have been there, done it and got the trophies to prove it – are arguably the safer bet.

So there you have it: we can make a case, just, for Manchester City to retain their Premier League title; but it should be another hard-fought and exciting journey ahead.

 

On The Ball with an 18-Fold Accumulator

On The Ball with an 18-Fold Accumulator A lucky / skilful punter has overcome staggering odds by correctly predicting 3 goals or more in 18 separate European football games spanning over a two week period. The now considerably wealthier individual placed a meager ten pounds on this unlikely bet and must have been on the edge of his seat while watching the final game of his accumulator between Austria Wien and AC Milan, which was effectively an all or nothing outcome for him. The finger of fortune continued to point in the right direction though and the game ended up being something of a goalfest (Austria Wien 1 – Milan 5). The list of all of the punters bets brings home just how unlikely this series of events was:

Man City 5 Liverpool 0

Leicester 1 Chelsea 2

Stoke 2 Man Utd 2

Everton 0 Spurs 3

Juventus 3 Chievo 0

Lazio 4 Milan 1

Barcelona 3 Juventus 0

Celtic 0 PSG 5

Chelsea 6 Qarabag 0

Man Utd 3 Basel 0

Feyenoord 0 Man City 4

Liverpool 2 Sevilla 2

Real Madrid 3 APOEL 0

Shakhtar 2 Napoli 1

Spurs 3 Dortmund 1

Bayern Munich 3 Anderlecht 0

Bologna 0 Napoli 3

Austria Wien 1 Milan 5

I place a fair few bets at sport.netbet.co.uk and this guy’s luck has spurred me on! As is to be expected, there were one or two close calls, including a 90th minute goal in the Bayern Munich match. It must have been real edge of your seat stuff for the lucky winner. In a further stroke of good luck (because clearly this person is in need of more luck!!), he decided to opt for an ‘odds boost’ feature and so instead of winning almost £60,000 his eventual winnings were £80,908. Talk about not being able to put a foot wrong. Someone is certainly smiling down upon this fellow!