GLEN JOHNSON: Brand Ambassador and former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson believes Liverpool have put down a real pre-Christmas marker and why training ground rows are part of the game.
Liverpool’s title to lose now
After Sunday’s victory over Manchester City, I’d be pretty surprised if Liverpool didn’t go on to win the Premier League title now. I think it could turn out to be a bit of a milestone in the season mainly as what was most impressive about the performance was how dominant they were. We all know how powerful City’s squad is but Jurgen Klopp’s side put them to bed relatively easily, which put down a real marker to the rest of the league, and at this rate it’s going to be Leicester or Chelsea who turn out to be Liverpool’s biggest title rivals!
Both of those have been very impressive in recent weeks, but you’ve got to think City will find some form sooner rather than later. They’ve got one of the best squads in world football and we’re still very early in the season, though if results continue as they are, they won’t get anywhere near the title. I still expect City to be Liverpool’s main challengers this season, but it does look a long way back already.
The gap at the top of the table is now eight points and while some might think that brings added pressure, I actually think it will help Liverpool. They’ve almost got free games now as they can afford to drop points and still be at the top of the table. It’s a weird situation and not one we’ve seen since Manchester United used to dominate the league a few years ago. It must be nice knowing if you lose a game, it doesn’t really matter that much and that’s a luxury players will surely thrive under.
We obviously have moved into an international break now and it will be disappointing for the Liverpool players that it comes around now. They won’t want anything stopping the momentum they’ve generated. On the other hand, for teams like City and those at the bottom of the league, the international break has come at the perfect time.
Training ground rows
There’s been a lot made around the row between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez and in all honesty, these arguments happen regularly on the training pitch. It usually doesn’t come out in the press though as the row is often squashed pretty quickly between those involved. It’s part of the game. You’ve got 30 first team players at the top of their game fighting for a place in the side and sometimes emotions run high and these things happen.
It’s a difficult situation for Gareth Southgate because Sterling is probably England’s best player and you don’t want to upset him too much. Whatever went on couldn’t have been that bad given he hasn’t sent Sterling home, but Southgate is the boss and I’m sure he’s made a decision based on what’s right for the team.
English prospects and Capello
With the strong presence of youth in the squad, it’s a very exciting time to be an England player as well as a fan. They’ve stormed through qualifying and the experience of the World Cup will be valuable as they get nearer Euro 2020. Being such a young squad, they are only going to improve and they’ve got the quality to compete with the best. Qualifying is the easy bit, but as Southgate has said, they want to be peaking for the big competitions and with any luck they will do that come next summer.
I was very lucky to receive over 50 caps for my country and played under some great managers during my time, but the best one in my eyes was Fabio Capello. I really liked the way he went about things both on and off the pitch, which worked for me. He was very strict in his methods, but I didn’t mind that as it’s all part of being a professional footballer.
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