Liverpool backed to beat Man City to the Premier League title because of two players
The Reds head into this campaign off the back of a Champions League triumph in May which ended a seven-year wait for silverware as they downed Tottenham in Madrid for their sixth European Cup success.
But Liverpool were unable to end the wait for the one piece of silverware that they crave most, having finished one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s side missed out on the league title despite amassing a club-record 97 points and losing just once – away to City in January – all year while keeping the division’s best defensive record, conceding 22 times in 38 games.
City mustered 98 points and also won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup to claim an unprecedented treble, just one season after becoming the first club in England ever to manage a 100-point league campaign, in another magnificent campaign.
Although City are desperate for European success, Pep Guardiola will also have the objective of winning the league a third successive season in his sights this season.
Only once have another club in the Premier League era managed to do so, when Manchester United lifting the title three times between 1999 and 2001 and again between 2007 and 2009.
Liverpool are the only other club to achieve the feat since the Second World War, with Huddersfield and Arsenal winning the league three years straight in the 1920s and 1930s respectively.
Given Guardiola’s hunger to break every available record, the Catalan coach won’t be short of motivation as his City side look set to lock horns with closest challengers Liverpool for another titanic tussle.
Man City are the back-to-back defending Premier League champions
Liverpool won the Champions League last term
It’s the holy grail they’re chasing with this Premier League title and I think it will sharpen their focus even more now
And while the Citizens have enjoyed phenomenal success over the last two years, former City defender and manager Pearce – in charge at the Etihad from 2005 to 2007 – suspects it will be the Merseyside outfit claiming the domestic spoils next May.
The ex-England international name-checked two players he expects to have key roles in Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and insists even while Liverpool have yet to sign a senior player, their squad is strong enough as it is, even though City have bolstered their squad in defensive midfield and at left-back.
“I think so,” Pearce told talkSPORT when asked if the current Liverpool team – without any new signings – are good enough to overcome City.
“I predicted Liverpool would win the league last summer, and to get 90-odd points like they did and still not win it, you’ve got to give Manchester City massive credit for that. But I’m tipping Liverpool this year.
Stuart Pearce is backing Liverpool to win the league this year
Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to end Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a title
“It’s the holy grail they’re chasing with this Premier League title and I think it will sharpen their focus even more now.
“It was a sensational season for them to end up only winning one trophy, albeit the European Cup.
“It was near enough exemplary, bar one defeat to Man City in the league.
“They’ve got Joe Gomez to come back and there are such high expectations on him, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to come back as well to join what they’ve got.
“They’ve lost a couple of players in Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno, but that won’t hurt them at all.”