El Hadji Diouf says his former team Liverpool “bottled” winning the Premier League title last season.
Liverpool had a commanding lead over Manchester City at the turn of the calendar year, but ended up missing out on the title to Pep Guardiola’s side by a point – despite losing just once all season.
The Reds have made a perfect start to the new campaign and are already five points clear at the top of the table but Diouf believes City are still the team to beat this season.
“I don’t see them [Liverpool] doing as well as they did last season,” he told FourFourTwo.
“They had the chance to win the league title; they had it in their hands and then let it slip.
“They were seven points ahead around Christmas – how Manchester City got it in the end beats my mind. As they say in England, I think they bottled it.
“If you have only one defeat in a whole season, surely you can’t say that you didn’t win the league – so it’s hard for me to imagine them having such a similar season and coming out as champions.
“Manchester City will be the team to beat once again.”
Diouf joined Liverpool after helping Senegal reach the quarter-finals of 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea but the forward never lived up to his billing on Merseyside.
He left Liverpool in 2005 after a paltry return of six goals in 80 appearances, and Diouf says he still harbours regrets about joining the club ahead of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.