Paul Merson says Liverpool have no chance of going through the Premier League season unbeaten despite their excellent start to the season – and ponders whether or not Mauricio Pochettino has taken Tottenham as far as he can…
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Liverpool won’t go unbeaten, not a chance. What Arsenal did all those years ago, that’s some going. What Liverpool are doing, winning all these games on the trot, though, is ridiculous.
They weren’t great the other day. When Leicester got to 1-1, they looked like the team that might nick it, even though Liverpool didn’t deserve to lose. For 70-odd minutes they were the better team, but they just kept on going and you have to get some breaks every now and again.
No-one is going to look back on October 5 and remember the penalty, but that spot-kick could’ve been a massive, massive goal.
When you win league titles, everybody forgets about what happens in October and November. Everybody just thinks about what happened in April or May, but the penalty could be massive in the context of the title race.
- Liverpool 2-1 Leicester – Match report and highlights
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Liverpool are now one win away from equalling the all-time record for consecutive Premier League wins. They’ve got Manchester United at Old Trafford and Tottenham at Anfield in the next two games as they bid to better Manchester City’s 2017 record.
When the fixtures came out these were their hardest two games. Now, they are their easiest two games on paper. However, you know Manchester United. This will be their cup final and surely, they can’t be that bad again, can they?
United will certainly be under pressure but so will Liverpool. When you are up at the top you must make sure you keep on winning.
At the start of the season you are probably looking at this game and thinking a point at United is a good result. You don’t know how bad United are going to be and you have a bit of a plan along the way as to what points you expect to get. Liverpool are ahead now. They’ve got points where they probably thought they weren’t going to get them so a draw would be okay for Liverpool in this game.
If Jurgen Klopp’s side took four points from the next two games I think Manchester City would be in major trouble.
- Neville: Liverpool cannot lose it from here
- Analysis: Pressure on Liverpool now?
No let-up from Klopp’s men
What Liverpool are doing now, it’s more than impressive. They could’ve easily rested on their laurels as Champions League winners. They did absolutely nothing wrong in the league, but another team went on to win 14 games and they ended up being just pipped at the post.
They could’ve easily felt sorry for themselves, but they didn’t. They’ve come back and been outstanding.
There is a gulf in class in this league and once in a blue moon bottom will beat top, but to do what they’ve done, week in, week out and winning football matches is incredible.
They are not drawing football matches. They are winning every week and it’s not like they are using 30-odd players. I still think if Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Virgil van Dijk got injured they could struggle, but they’ve got points in the bank now.
I’ve said before that this side is not getting beat by any side in the bottom half and Manchester City have been beaten by two teams in the bottom half already. They’ve got the points on the board and can afford a slip here or there. Manchester City could beat Liverpool twice now and it wouldn’t make a difference. It’s all in their hands now.
Man Utd vs Liverpool
October 20, 2019, 3:00pm
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There’s still a long way to go though.
You’ve only got to have a bad day at the office and it can all unravel. I did the game on Saturday and Liverpool shaded it. They were the better team and were comfortable, but when it goes to 1-1 Vardy breaks down the left and if there’s a better final pass Leicester get in and could lead 2-1. It’s a different game then.
We’re looking at a different weekend then and I don’t think the pressure would’ve been on Manchester City as much as it was. Their game then becomes a bit different too.
There are 30 games to go. It’s still a long way to go for Liverpool and it only takes a couple of decisions here or there to change everything. There are 90 points available and that’s still a lot of points to play for.
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- Liverpool fixtures
However, I say it all the time, you can be the best manager in the world but if you haven’t got the players it doesn’t make any difference. Pep Guardiola, who is playing Fernandinho at centre-back alongside Nicolas Otamendi, hasn’t got the players.
Fernandinho is going to get found out eventually. For them not to go and buy someone when they own a country is an absolute joke. They should have three or four players in each position.
I don’t want to say it’s Liverpool’s title to throw away because there’s a long way to go. No-one has ever won the league in eight football matches, but if they keep on doing what they are doing, it’s going to be hard for anybody else to catch them.
The players had the title snatched from them last year. It was taken away from them after Man City won 14 straight football matches and Vincent Kompany stuck one in the top corner from 30 yards. Liverpool know things can happen. This Manchester City team can get on a roll and reel off 10 on the trot so there’s a long, long way to go.
- Pep: We can still catch Liverpool
- Man City’s defensive issues analysed
Worrying times for Tottenham
It’s worrying times for Tottenham.
I was all for them the other day because when they lost 7-2, I didn’t really see an awful lot wrong with that. I thought they got a lot of bad criticism for no reason because that game could’ve gone either way.
Spurs had good chances in the first half and they could’ve been three or four up at half-time. At 4-2 they were still in the game, but a mad five minutes really cost them. I backed them then because I thought it wasn’t as bad as everybody was making out.
However, what happened on Saturday was an absolute joke. It was a worrying, worrying joke.
In football terms, to get brushed aside and blown away by Brighton was a disaster. It was as worrying as it gets on the football field.
People said to me after the Bayern game that Pochettino looked a bit calm. He was calm because he watched the game and it wasn’t as bad as what it looked. Take the last few minutes away and it’s 4-2. You’d sit back and think what a great game it was and that it could’ve gone either way. But the game against Brighton was a joke.
They should be extremely embarrassed. I think the last time Brighton scored three goals in a game I was at school!
- Brighton 3-0 Tottenham – Match report and highlights
- Sunday Supplement: Is Poch’s time up at Spurs?
- Analysis: What’s going wrong at Tottenham?
Has Poch taken Spurs as far as he can?
It’s worrying times for Pochettino.
As a manager you get to certain stages in your career and you can only take a team as far as you can take them. You can’t take them any further. I’m not sure what’s going on at Tottenham.
There are ways of losing football matches and that wasn’t a good way to lose. If I was the manager, I’d sitting there on Sunday morning thinking, ‘Are these players with me?’. You look at Stoke the other day when they went to Swansea.
They were bottom of the league and couldn’t win a game for toffee, but they busted a gut and got a result for their manager. I look at that and I think that those players are with the manager. They are not mugging that manager off and will run through a brick wall for him.
But when I look at that Tottenham team getting brushed aside, and I mean brushed aside, by Brighton, you’d have to ask serious questions.
No queue round the block if Ole goes
I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United. He’s in at the wrong time, you can’t sell goals. Romelu Lukaku was their goalscorer, he might not chase the full-back but he puts the ball in the net. That’s what it’s all about. Who takes his job?
This is a lifetime job. You manage England, you manage Manchester United, they’re the two. I wouldn’t see a queue round the block because they’re a million miles off. If you come in, you think ‘where am I taking this team?’. This is a six, seven-hundred-million-pound job.
A manager like Allegri would come in next summer, if you want to give them a chance you’d have to say £700m. I’d want seven players, and in this day and age you aren’t buying any top-drawer players for anything under £70m.
You look at the twist with where Liverpool are to where Manchester United are compared to where Liverpool were six or seven years ago, and you say how did it get like this? How?
Liverpool have rebuilt, built a special team and United have gone the other way. I just don’t know what’s happened, I really don’t. It’s mindblowing, it’s scary.