Liverpool struggle while Manchester City maintain excellence

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When the Premier League season began in early August, the general consensus amongst football fans and pundits was that the race for the 2022/23 title was between Liverpool and Manchester City – with the remainder of the competition vying for a distant third.

Both clubs have enjoyed a healthy rivalry in recent years, with City getting the better of the Merseyside club for the most part, having reigned supreme in the world’s best league in four of the last five seasons. However, Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp is impressive in its own right, with The Reds securing a Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup since the German took the top job in 2015.

There was no greater example of both clubs’ near decade-long supremacy at a domestic level than in May of this year, with City ending their 2021/22 campaign as victors on 93 points, and Liverpool finishing runners-up on 92. While you would have felt comfortable with six weeks remaining in the season if you had City to win the league in your football accumulator, Liverpool made a surge late to put enormous pressure on their northern adversaries.

To add to the theatre, the champions were determined on a thrilling final day, with the Manchester outfit rallying back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 against a valiant Aston Villa – and by doing so – secured the club their sixth Premier League gong.

Chelsea finished in third place on 74 points, further reiterating just how much both City and Liverpool had separated themselves from the rest of the pack. However, in the opening seven games of this season, only one of the two teams are establishing themselves as real contenders to win the league. That is Manchester City, who sit comfortably in second place, just one point shy of league leaders Arsenal.

Couple that with their acquisition of phenom Erling Haaland, who has justified his pre-season hype with 11 goals before the end of September – and the Pep Guardiola-managed side look certain to repeat and win their seventh league title, and fifth in six years. On the other hand, Liverpool have been a bitter disappointment. After losing forward Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, they have lacked the cohesion and spark they have become notorious for in years gone by.

Additionally, their marquee signing Darwin Nunez has not lived up to expectations at this stage, recording only one goal in three Premier League starts and two Champions League fixtures. That begs the question, is Klopp’s instructions beginning to fall on deaf ears? It’s hard to imagine a manager of Klopp’s credentials, professionalism and football IQ could lose the dressing room – however – if you look at his side’s performances so far this season – the debate is starting to gather steam.

After a draw with Fulham on their opening day, Liverpool have continued to struggle, finding themselves in eighth position with just two wins from six outings. Many believe it’s harsh to place the blame on Klopp, as his star players Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk haven’t provided their squad with the level of production we’re accustomed to. Whatever the problem may be that is occurring at Anfield currently, it’s imperative they rectify it quick-smart or they’re at risk of falling out of league contention before the halfway point of the season.                                   

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