Paul Merson: Man City, not Liverpool, are Premier League title favourites

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Liverpool’s win at Bournemouth was considered a significant football result. Bournemouth had recently defeated Newcastle and Manchester United, making them a challenging opponent. However, Liverpool emerged victorious from the game. With their outstanding performance, it has always been clear to me that Liverpool will be strong contenders at the end of the season. One of Liverpool’s strengths is their abundance of forward players, with five of them capable of scoring goals. Even if one forward, like Darwin Nunez, misses several chances, it is preferable to having a forward who seems incapable of scoring at all. Comparing Liverpool’s forward options, such as Luis Diaz, Nunez, Cody Gakpo, and Diogo Jota, to Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, Liverpool’s attackers seem evenly matched, barring the exceptional Mohamed Salah. However, I hesitate to label Liverpool as title favorites. Man City has shown their ability to secure consecutive wins consistently. Their squad depth has allowed them to maintain their form despite the absence of key players like Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne. Furthermore, City’s ability to string together long unbeaten streaks often goes unnoticed, while similar achievements by Liverpool or Arsenal receive more attention. In just one week, Liverpool’s chances in the title race could be diminished significantly. Their upcoming matches against Chelsea and Arsenal pose significant challenges, and if they do not perform well, their chances could dissipate quickly. Although Arsenal is still in the race for the title, their strike force consisting of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah is unlikely to match the goal-scoring prowess of Salah, particularly as Salah plays on the right wing, giving Liverpool an advantage. If Liverpool can maintain their current level of play, they will remain competitive for a long time. Additionally, Man City’s failure to score at Tottenham’s new stadium is a concern for them. Their upcoming match against Tottenham holds psychological significance, and if they lose again, it could impact their confidence. On the other hand, a victory for Tottenham would open up opportunities for them in the FA Cup. This match carries significant weight for all involved. It is worth noting that Timo Werner could potentially debut for Tottenham during this game. While his debut against Manchester United was challenging, given his runs and missed chances, I believe he is a valuable addition to Tottenham. If he hadn’t previously played for Chelsea, I think they would have pursued him in the January transfer window. His pace and goal-scoring ability suit Chelsea’s style of play. However, a frustrating aspect of Werner’s game at Chelsea was his frequent offside runs. It was surprising how often he found himself in offside positions. It is unnecessary for a player of his speed to consistently stay on the last defender’s shoulder.

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