GLEN JOHNSON: Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson reacts to The Reds’ Merseyside Derby win, discusses Arsenal’s struggles, and shares his thoughts on the Amazon Prime Premier League coverage.
Everton win shows Liverpool’s strength in depth
One of the major criticisms of Liverpool is that beyond the front 13 or 14 players in their squad they are quite weak, but I think Wednesday night’s win over Everton showed it’s a stronger squad than people give it credit for. Players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi really stepped up and showed they can be relied upon when Jurgen Klopp needs them, which is going to be crucial with such a busy period of fixtures coming up over the next month or so.
I do however think the squad still needs improvement in order to do what Manchester City have done and win back-to-back titles. There are still some areas where they are lacking and if they get a bad run with injuries they could struggle.
The Everton win would have been very sweet for Klopp because it was a plan that has gone absolutely perfectly. He’s been able to rest the likes of Mohamad Salah and Roberto Firmino as well as giving Shaqiri, Origi and Adam Lallana game time. In all honesty, it couldn’t have been a much better night for Liverpool.
Sadio is really now the main Mane at Liverpool
I think a few Liverpool fans would have been a bit concerned when they saw the Liverpool teamsheet on Wednesday, but given the way Sadio Mane, in particular, played they shouldn’t have worried. He put in another performance which showed
he why he is the leading light at Anfield at the moment. He’s just such an explosive player, you can think he’s half asleep and then suddenly he bursts into life. He’s the one the team would want a chance to fall to and if he can continue the form he’s shown this season, he must be a leading contender for the all of the awards come the end of the season.
Leicester could now be main title challengers
It’s very hard to write off Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, but on current evidence you’d have to say Leicester are Liverpool’s main rivals for the title. They are going so well at the moment and just keep winning. Everyone knows how dangerous City are and the players they have in their squad are a match for the best in Europe let alone those in the Premier League, but 11 points is a huge gap to bridge and I just don’t see Liverpool dropping that many points.
The thing Leicester have to their advantage is that the league position hurts City a lot more than it hurts Leicester. The pressure is off Brendan Rodgers’ team as a finish in the Champions League spots would cap off a fantastic season for the Foxes, but it would be seen as a disappointing one for Pep Guardiola’s side. Things just haven’t clicked for City in the league this season and the players must be frustrated at the results. If anything, I’d expect them to drop more points this season as the Champions League really hots up and they perhaps put more eggs in that basket than in the Premier League one.
The Champions League has got to be a priority for City now. Of course they’ll do their best to catch Liverpool in the league, but you get the feeling that players will be rested in league matches as the season goes on in order to ensure they are match-fit for the big knockout games in Europe.
Arsenal manager needs experience
For a club the size of Arsenal and the position it currently finds itself in, they need a manager who is going to perform right now. They don’t have the luxury to wait for a manager to ‘bed-in’ as their league position simply doesn’t allow them to. I’m not saying the younger managers being linked with the job can’t do that, but they need someone who is going to come in and get the players’ attention straight away. This a bunch of players that are performing a long way below the level required at Arsenal and whoever the incoming manager is, he needs to get things turned around pretty fast in order to ensure this season isn’t an absolute disaster.
Amazon prime is great for the future of the game
It was the first time in England that all games were televised simultaneously on TV during the week and I think it’s great for the game.
If this initiative continues it’s going to create a fantastic atmosphere in pubs, restaurants or just for friends getting together at home.
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