Wednesday, February 05, 2020

AT the beginning of the season I thought Manchester City would be too powerful for Liverpool and retain their Premier League title, but I was very wrong about that.

Liverpool have all but sealed their first league title since 1990 and it is only the first week in February. They lead City by 22 points in the league and are unbeaten through their 25 games played.

They still have a long way to go to be described as the Premier League’s greatest ever team and they will need to win multiple titles to have that accolade bestowed upon them.

However, at this moment, their performance this season has been the most dominant by a team that I can ever remember in any major league. They have dominated practically every game they have played and they haven’t looked close to being beaten. The league is basically theirs, so their job now is to try and finish the season unbeaten and keep alive their ambitions in retaining their Champions League trophy.

Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool playing a great brand of attacking football but they are probably the hardest working team without the ball too which allows them to keep pressure on teams and not let them get a foothold into games. This in turn keeps Liverpool on the front foot at all times.

He has built a brilliant squad and he has done it over a number of transfer windows by spending wisely and buying the best players available for a specific system rather than just buying the best players and then shoehorning them into the team just because a rival is interested in that player (ie Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United).

If you look at the players that Klopp has signed, very few of them have turned out to be poor signings and if they have been poor, he has replaced them very quickly and that has been key to their success.

Liverpool’s success probably was the reason why there wasn’t any major signings in the January transfer window that closed on Friday.

In January you have to pay over the odds for players and it can take the players time to adjust to their new surroundings and a team’s style of play too. So you’re better off waiting until the summer unless you’re desperately in need of a player.

With Manchester United losing Marcus Rashford for a number of weeks with a stress fracture in his back, they needed a striker badly and at the beginning of January if you had guessed the name that was going to be signed as a short-term replacement you should probably do the lotto too because it was a very surprising name.

Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo signed on loan for United from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua until the end of the season with the hope that his goals will help get United a Champions League spot.

He has been playing in China for the last three years so there is a question mark over whether he can step back up from that level. When he was at Watford, he was a very effective striker in a team that was mostly in the lower half of the table.

I don’t think it is a bad signing. He will improve the team straight away because he is a proper centre forward. Anthony Martial has been playing there for United and he doesn’t know if he wants to be a winger or a striker.

To me, Martial will always be the type of player who flatters to deceive. He isn’t the out and out goalscorer that United needs right now.

Romelu Lukaku is, but they decided he was surplus to requirements last summer and now he is flourishing at Inter Milan.

It is getting to the stage now with Martial where I don’t think he is going to go to the next level at Old Trafford and they need to decide if they want to cash in on him or not.

As a squad player he would be excellent, but he might feel like he wants to be the main man at a club and wouldn’t be happy playing a bit part.

Whatever happens, Manchester United are miles away from catching Liverpool and it seems like there has been a complete reversal of fortunes from the majority of the Premier League years where Liverpool were always in United’s shadow.

United supporters will be hoping they don’t stay in Liverpool’s shadow for long but unless there are big changes at Old Trafford, they had better get used to it.

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