Liverpool suffered only their second defeat of the Premier League season at the end of December at the hands of Leicester City, but their hopes of procuring the top-flight crown appear to be over due to the brilliance of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men extended their lead at the top of the table to six points due to the Reds defeat to the Foxes.
City have been unrelenting and are seemingly on the charge to their second crown on the bounce, and their fourth in six seasons under the tenure of Guardiola. Liverpool face an uphill challenge and their task will become even tougher when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane leave Merseyside to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations.
As a result, the Premier League title seems destined to remain in the hands of City, barring a collapse in the second half of the campaign from Guardiola’s men. Liverpool might be better off turning their attention to the Champions League, where they have enjoyed greater success than City in recent years. Klopp’s men reached the final in the 2017/18 term before winning the crown with a victory over Tottenham. They have since suffered disappointing exits in the round of 16 in 2020 against Atletico Madrid and a quarter-final defeat against Real Madrid last season. The onus is on Klopp for an improvement and he may see the Champions League as his best hope to add a major trophy, being backed by sites offering odds on sports at 5/1 to win the competition.
In a one-off match, City have shown their frailties in the competition, losing the final against Chelsea last term. In the previous campaign, Guardiola and his team were beaten by Lyon in the quarter-finals, suffering an embarrassing loss at the hands of the French side. For all their dominance of the Premier League, City have not been able to nail their European form due to curious selection policies from Guardiola and problems finding their rhythm in the latter stages of the tournament.
Bayern Munich are a threat and have the most potent goalscorer in the game in the final third with Robert Lewandowski, but even they were disappointing last season in the defence of their crown. At their fluent best Bayern will be an obstacle, but whether the German side can perform to that standard after another run to the Bundesliga title is another matter, especially as they may be forced to work harder than usual to secure the league this term.
Paris Saint-Germain will also be in it for the long haul due to the sheer talent of their potent attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe. The trio have had issues regarding cohesion this term, and Mauricio Pochettino and his team have come under fire for the underwhelming nature of some of their displays. Expectations are high at the Parc de Princes, and the players always seem to feel the burden in the Champions League.
Liverpool can capitalize on the issues of their potential Champions League rivals. The Reds are arguably the best team in the world when firing on all cylinders. At times not even City have been able to match their intensity across the pitch, especially in European games. Although the Premier League title may be slipping away from them, Klopp and his team could very easily switch their attention to securing Europe’s elite prize for a seventh time in their illustrious history.