Liverpool are playing at a level which could win the Premier League, says Gary Neville
Gary Neville thinks Liverpool are currently playing in a level that could acquire the Premier League title to them this season – and anxieties Aymeric Laporte’s harm could prove expensive.
Liverpool continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a 3-0 win in Burnley on Saturday evening, making sure they venture in the peak of the Premier League.
Sky Sports’ Neville, talking on The Gary Neville Podcast, was impressed by Jurgen Klopp’s side’s start to the season.
“I had been watching Liverpool in Burnley and I had this feeling,” the former Manchester United defender said.
“I said last year I thought they were a championship team. They are a championship team. They’re currently playing at a level that may acquire the title.
“You saw them at Burnley, plus they weren’t brilliant in the first 20 minutes, but they move and get a target and then a second objective.
“You talk about the clinical section of a group. The piece is right, the bit that is attacking is right, and the midfield looks strong and experienced. They’re a title-winning team plus they were last year, basically by everything they did”
Manchester City have also begun the defence of their title.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who are next from the table, have drifted apart West Ham, Bournemouth and Brighton, with a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham the only blemish up to now on the champions’ listing.
Neville has worries about City following the knee injury sustained by defender Laporte from the triumph over Brighton at summer target Harry Maguire instead at Manchester United and the weekend, especially using Vincent Kompany not in the club.
Laporte went down under a challenge from Brighton centre-back Adam Webster in the 34th minute of this game. The Frenchman was stretchered off after getting medical attention on his knee and has been substituted by holding midfielder Fernandinho.
After the match Guardiola revealed the defender may be outside to get a”while”.
“If Laporte’s harm is a serious one, it is a large issue for City,” Neville explained.
“I stated a couple weeks back I had been struggling to understand why City did not follow through on Harry Maguire using Vincent Kompany departing the club.
“I believed Kompany won them the Celtics in the previous 10 games of last year when he played in all those games. Forget the Leicester moment that was just magnificent, I thought they were held by his leadership at some time like you would not believe when Liverpool were employing pressure.
“In terms of that leader-type figure, I believe Laporte has got that.
“I think that this will cost City points,” he further added. “To be fair, there’s absolutely no one better on the planet at training compared to Pep Guardiola, complete stop. And there is no one better at making what would be make-shift centre-backs play nicely.
“I watched two Champions League finals where Barcelona had Javier Mascherano and Yaya Toure playing centre-back against Manchester United. So, I am not going to sit here and make the error of thinking because they have that a lot of the ball during matches even a Kyle Walker or into a Fernandinho can’t turn to a leading centre-back.
“What I would say is that when Laporte is out for quite a while, I believe it will definitely cost City points because he is a dominant centre-back. I found him three times and he’s a great player. It’s a real stress for City.
“Maguire would’ve been perfect. Manchester United did well to get him but I’m surprised City did not really go along with United for him. They did and that they just pulled out because of the money in the long run or anything it was.
“I only believe with Kompany departing, he had been Belgian, however he was an conservative throw your head at it centre-back in both containers that when you go to particular grounds in the Premier league you are playing.
“When chunks flew into the box and the pressure-built, Vincent Kompany stood tall and made sure they all left.
“That’s the 1 downer from the weekend for City and if I had been a City fan it might worry me in the short term and the medium-term, depending on how long he was out ”