Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher claimed his former side could beat Manchester City in the Premier League title race this season. However, he believes it will majorly depend on the fitness levels of defender Virgil van Dijk.
Van Dijk suffered a knee injury in the 2020-21 season and was out for the season. The Reds suffered multiple injuries to other players as well that season, as they finished third in the table, 17 points behind champions Manchester City.
The 31-year-old returned last season but was unable to play at his highest level until around Christmas. Jurgen Klopp’s side improved massively after that and lost out in the Premier League title race by just one point against the Cityzens.
Carragher believes that if Van Dijk stays in his best shape, the Merseysiders will lift the title this season. When asked about his predictions for the title race, he told Sky Sports:
“Liverpool because of Virgil van Dijk. Every time he’s been fit and at his best Liverpool have got mid-90 points. Last season he was coming back from that cruciate injury. From Christmas onwards when he was back to his best, Liverpool looked a completely different team. If Liverpool get him at his best from the get go, they’ve got a great chance.”
The Reds will begin their campaign against newly-promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, August 6. Meanwhile, Manchester City will begin their title defense against West Ham United at the London Stadium on August 7.
Liverpool and Manchester City’s summer transfer business so far
Both clubs have strengthened their sides but have also seen some of their most prominent players leave this summer.
Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko left the Cityzens this summer, with the former joining Chelsea and the latter two joining Arsenal. Fernandinho has also left the club and joined Brazilian club Athletico Paranaese.
In terms of incomings, Manchester City have signed Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips from Borussia Dortmund, River Plate and Leeds United respectively.
Haaland joined Pep Guardiola’s side for £51 million. He scored 86 goals and provided 23 assists in just 89 matches for Borussia Dortmund across competitions.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s side have also seen some big incomings and outgoings this summer.
Sadio Mane left the club after six years to join Bayern Munich. Takumi Minamino, Neco Williams and Ben Davies have also departed to join AS Monaco, Nottingham Forest and Rangers respectively.
The Reds spent a club-record £85 million (including add-ons) to sign Darwin Nunez from Benfica. He scored 34 goals and provided four assists in 41 matches last season.
They’ve also signed Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay from Fulham and Aberdeen respectively.
Paul Merson has predicted all the GW 1 fixtures of the Premier League. More details right here