If you’re not getting up early on Saturdays and Sundays to watch English Premier League games, you’re missing out on some great soccer. There’s obviously amazing quality in every Premier League game, but at the top of the table, the big names are doing exactly what they get paid to do.
After Wednesday’s afternoon games where Tottenham lost 2-0 at away against Chelsea, it’s a fairly straightforward title race between Liverpool and Manchester City. Tottenham are now eight points behind Manchester City who sit in second one point behind leaders Liverpool who are on 69 points.
Both teams this season have been nothing short of unbelievable at times. High-intensity and relentless attacking play has yielded goal differences of 55 and 49 for City and Liverpool, respectively. Liverpool’s defense has been outstanding, conceding just 15 goals in 28 league games. In teams of star players, there are a few who have shown even brighter than their colleagues.
For Liverpool, I could highlight every member of their defensive line, but if I have to be choosy, I would need to highlight Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson. van Dijk, the 27-year-old towering central defender, is certain to be a clear winner for the Premier League Defender of the Year. The Dutch National Team Captain is arguably one of the best defenders in the world at the moment and has been instrumental in Liverpool’s success both defensively and with his passing ability to begin the play from the back. To his left is maybe the biggest bargain of a player the League has seen this season. Signed in 2017 from Hull City for £8 million, Robertson has been one of the most dominant left defenders in the league. His performances forced Liverpool into offering him a new and improved contract, keeping him at the club until 2024.
Far ahead of them on the field, the front attacking trio that shot to absurd success last season is back and continuing to produce. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have continued to combine brilliantly and produced a remarkable 40 league goals between the three of them. Manchester City’s front three of Sergio Agüero, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané has produced 38 goals. Liverpool’s summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri has chipped in with 6 and Gabriel Jesus has 6 for City as well.
Last weekend, City won the first trophy of the season when they beat Chelsea 4-3 on penalties on a dramatic night at Wembley to raise the EFL Cup. The games are going to continue to come thick and fast for City as they are still in the FA Cup and the Champions League in addition to the Premier League. Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup prematurely by Wolverhampton and they are up against the wall in the Champions League. They tied Bayern Munich 0-0 at home in the first leg of the competition and will need to take the game to the Germans in Munich when they meet on March 13th.
It’s been a pleasure to watch both of these teams play this season, but only one can be crowned Champions of England. City have been unconvincing at times this season, it must be said. When they are good, they are fantastic, but when they can’t find a rhythm, they tend to stutter and drop points. They’ve clawed their way back to within a point of Liverpool who, have thus far, looked like real champions.
City need to get their central defense pair of John Stones and the outstanding Aymeric Laporte back from injury as soon as possible and Fernandinho will have to continue to play like one of the best holding midfielders in the world if they are to continue to push Liverpool. Every time we watch these teams play it’s a master class in how to build attacks, so if you’re not waking up early on the weekends to watch, time to set those alarms.