sport news IAN LADYMAN: Be thankful for Liverpool… without them, Manchester City would ... trends now

sport news IAN LADYMAN: Be thankful for Liverpool… without them, Manchester City would ... trends now
sport news IAN LADYMAN: Be thankful for Liverpool… without them, Manchester City would ... trends now

sport news IAN LADYMAN: Be thankful for Liverpool… without them, Manchester City would ... trends now

There is a reasonable case to be argued that the current Liverpool team is the best the club has ever fielded.

It is also possible that Jurgen Klopp and those who play for him may one day look back at their careers and realise they only won a single Premier League title.

That, in a nutshell, is the state of play in the top flight of English football ahead of the new season. The standard at the very top is arguably higher than it’s ever been yet one team still stands alone as the Premier League’s very best. Manchester City have won four of the last five titles and the challenge for the rest remains the same. How to get ahead of them.

Jurgen Klopp has created one of the greatest Liverpool teams in the club's history

Jurgen Klopp has created one of the greatest Liverpool teams in the club's history

Realistically, only one team can hope to do it and that is Liverpool. Edged out by a point last season, we should be thankful for them. In any other league in Europe, a side like Pep Guardiola’s champions could expect to walk away with the title. Somehow, Klopp has managed to construct and continue to improve a team that has managed to stand nose to nose with them for the last few years.

At times the sheer ferocity of this modern rivalry seems to weary both Klopp and indeed Guardiola. It must feel like standing in front a fire for nine months of every year. Here they are — doubtless with renewed energy and purpose — at the start line once again, though. Both with teams that may look marginally different but both fundamentally the same.

As always, it’s hard to look beyond City for the title. Once again, if I was putting money anywhere it would be on blue.

Uncertainty remains over Guardiola’s own future. He is out of contract at the end of the season and the longer that situation goes on, the more it could possibly start to affect his players. However City’s squad has been improved by the acquisition of Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips. Last summer they bought Jack Grealish. It is not hard to see why they win things.

£51million man Erling Haaland is one of the signings of the summer for Manchester City

£51million man Erling Haaland is one of the signings of the summer for Manchester City

Liverpool, on the other hand, have lost a key player in Sadio Mane. The Senegal forward has been just as influential as Mo Salah in recent seasons and however effective new central forward Darwin Nunez transpires to be, Mane may yet prove to be one of those players whose absence is felt just a little bit more keenly than anybody would really wish.

And this is the thing about the Premier League these days. The gap between the two best teams is so impossibly thin that any summer that is not spent taking steps forward is effectively one that risks losing ground. With this in mind, City start once more as favourites.

Beneath the top of the mountain, there is movement

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