In the wake of Thiago Alcantara’s signing by Liverpool this week and Friday night’s confirmation they have also sealed the purchase of Diogo Jota from Wolves, the tide of opinion has swept away from Manchester City that this season won the Premier League title to Jurgen Klopp’s team who will keep it. Call me fickle, but I think the newcomers to Merseyside are game changers too. I run away from City and put my money on Liverpool.
It will be a two-horse race and as Liverpool started the season without adding a major addition to their squad with a shaky victory in the classic against Leeds, it felt like passivity could cost them. Every side, however good, needs new momentum and renewed competition within the team. It must evolve and progress and thwart any hint of complacency. The addition of Thiago in particular ticks those boxes.
Not many players could beat the Liverpool squad that won the title last season with a runaway 18 points, but Thiago is one of them. He’s a cerebral, elegant footballer, the sort of orchestrator of a match Liverpool haven’t had under Klopp until now. Liverpool’s biggest weapon is their front three and the addition of Thiago could mean they are even better supplied than before. The addition of Jota ensures that one of that trio is injured.
Pep Guardiola still doesn’t have the answers on how to take the title back from Liverpool
The Reds’ acquisitions of Thiago (pictured) and Diogo Jota are game-changers for the champions
The city will be close. Closer than last season. But as they prepare to play the first game of their season against Wolves on Monday, too many questions are being raised against them to suggest that, especially after last week’s developments, they can overhaul the champions.
The first and most obvious is the news that Sergio Aguero could be injured in the next two months. The city still has a terrifying front line, but it’s not quite the same without Aguero. Gabriel Jesus is a brilliant forward, but so far he has not shown that he can be as prolific as the Argentine striker if he has been given the opportunity to step in. Two months is a long time without him.
There are also unaddressed concerns about City’s defense. Yes, it was the second meanest defense in the league last season, but Liverpool’s was better. So far City have added Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, but consensus is that they are still falling short. Defensive vulnerability cost them in their last game last season, the Champions League quarter-final against Lyon, and it will cost them again if they don’t secure more reinforcements.
City will keep them close, but could be tainted by Sergio Aguero’s two-month loss
Guardiola has a range of attacking talents, but still needs to solve defensive problems
City is a nice side. They will probably be the best team to watch in the Premier League this season. But any team anywhere would be poorer for the loss of David Silva and how they can manage without him now that he has returned to Spain is another area of uncertainty. The hope is that Phil Foden, already such a great talent, will continue to develop to the point where he fills the void, but Silva will be the hardest to follow.
City has the most talented player in the league and one of the best in the world in Kevin de Bruyne, they have Raheem Sterling who has also become a world class talent, they have Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Ferran Torres the new winger from Valencia replacing Leroy Sane.
Their quality in the future is indisputable. City are a team that can enchant and paralyze an opponent with their mix of energy and technical ability, but despite all their talent in attacking positions, there is still a sense that they are vulnerable, especially at the pace and that they are not quite enough have done to address that shortcoming.
Nathan Ake’s signing is positive, but may not be enough to bolster their defense
In those heady days earlier this month when it looked like they were going to sign Lionel Messi, it didn’t seem to matter that they hadn’t addressed their most pressing issue. With Messi, who should be concerned about defense? But when that deal died, worries returned.
Of course, they still have Guardiola, the man most still considered the best football coach in the world, the man who built the modern city. But there is also uncertainty around him. His contract expires at the end of this season and despite all kinds of positive sounds, he has not yet signed a new contract.
Maybe Messi will come to City next season and he and Guardiola will go together in a golden autumn at the Etihad. Or maybe Guardiola will return to Barcelona to help Messi in the last years of his Nou Camp career. Speculation on anything that will grow as this season goes on. It could easily become a distraction.
The past few days have been crucial to read how the season will develop. Of the two title contenders, it is suddenly City that looks more like the team that is standing still. Liverpool has the advantage.
The past few days could be crucial and now Liverpool have a head start at the start of the season
I hope Bale proves me wrong at Spurs
Gareth Bale is a great footballer, a player blessed with speed and vision and a knack for producing the spectacle in the greatest matches. In terms of the trophies he has won, he is one of the greats of the British game.
His arrest by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is a public relations genius to say the least. It has injected a shot of excitement and hope into a Tottenham season that looked dying almost from the beginning. At best, the move may well be the antidote to the gloom creeping through the club under Jose Mourinho’s regime.
Gareth Bale’s return to Spurs is fantastic for the club and the Premier League as a whole
His capture is, to say the least, a genius public relations attack from Spurs chief Daniel Levy
Heart wants the Bale move to work not just for Spurs fans, but because everyone who loves the game wants players to thrive on his grace and style and because his arrival will give the Premier League a great boost while the game continues to play empty. stadiums.
The head says Bale may be a band-aid loaned out to try and hide the wounds left at the club under Mourinho. The head says it will be difficult to live up to expectations seven years after he first left Spurs for Real Madrid. The head says that by the age of 31, it will only get more difficult to stay free of the injuries that have plagued his career.
I’ll go with what my head tells me, but I hope Bale, who has already silenced the critics who said he had no more ambition and would sit out the rest of his Madrid contract on the bench, prove me wrong.
But Bale may be a band-aid to hide the wounds under Mourinho opening at Spurs
Scott is the right choice for the Question of Sport guest seat
The question is not whether Alex Scott would be lucky enough to get the performance as the new presenter of A Question of Sport. The question is whether A Question of Sport would be lucky enough to get Alex Scott.
Part of the reason it’s a great idea to give the job to Scott is that I’m not a fan of the outgoing presenter, Sue Barker. I respect that she was a pioneer in sports broadcasting and if you’ve spent 24 years in that job like her, you’ve clearly done something right, but Barker’s brand of smug sycophancy never quite did it for me.
If Scott gets the job, it will be because she is an experienced, personable, diligent broadcaster who was in the right place at the right time.
A Question of Sport would be lucky enough to get Alex Scott who would be great in the role of host