GLEN JOHNSON: BETDAQ Brand Ambassador Glen Johnson discusses Liverpool’s pole position, Poch and Ole under pressure, Spurs’ keeper woes and how Lampard is now lit up.
Liverpool clear favourites for the title
After the weekend’s fixtures, you have to say Liverpool are now the strong favourites for the Premier League. Eight points is a massive advantage and what makes it better for them is that they are the only side who aren’t dropping any points. They keep finding a way to win and it would be a pretty big surprise, even this early on in the season, for them to be beaten.
You’d like to think Jurgen Klopp and his players will maintain the same outlook and not let the fact that they are where they are affect them. Of course the media, pundits and fans are going to heap pressure on them, but if they can keep doing what they are doing, it’s going to take a pretty good team to stop them.
As for Manchester City, they’ve got to believe they’re still in with a chance. They are such a good side that they are bound to hit form sooner rather than later. They’ve obviously got a pretty big mountain to climb already, but it wasn’t that long ago that Liverpool went through the Christmas period without winning a game. City will just be hoping Liverpool slip up and if they do, they’ve got to be ready to pounce.
Tough times for Poch and Ole
There’s obviously a long way until the end of the season, but if things don’t improve you’ve got to fear for Mauricio Pochettino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Tottenham and Manchester United. You might think both managers have got plenty of time to turn things around, but they’ll need to do it pretty quickly as at the moment both of them look like they are managing mid-table sides, not the Premier League powerhouses we are so used to seeing.
I’m particularly worried about Solskjaer as, based on their performance against Newcastle on Sunday, things can’t get much worse. It might sound harsh, but I think this is the worst United squad I can remember. They’ve obviously spent a lot of money on the likes of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and while they are good players in their own right, they haven’t solved the fundamental issues which still exist within the side.
I remember when I was growing up and while I was playing, they would always have world class players who would put the fear of god into you. You would look through the teamsheet and there weren’t any weaknesses and you knew you’d have to play incredibly well just to get a point, let alone a victory. So often teams would lose to United before they got off the bus, but it’s simply not like that anymore. The fear factor has gone and teams are turning up at Old Trafford thinking they’ll get a result. The players just aren’t good enough now and their results this season show that.
Lloris a big loss to Spurs
Whenever a side loses their goalkeeper it’s a big loss because they are almost like the quarterback for the team. A top-quality keeper is so important to a successful team, so and the fact that Hugo Lloris is also the Spurs captain makes things that much worse. It’s never easy for a back-four to lose their goalkeeper because every player has their own way of doing things, so there is going to be an adjustment period while the new keeper gets bedded in and unfortunately for Tottenham, their current league position doesn’t really give them much time for that.
Lampard could get Chelsea into the top four
If Chelsea can keep going as they are, they could easily break into the top four. I’ve always said if Frank Lampard could get them into the top six he’s done a fantastic job and with the way United and Spurs are going, he could do even better than that.
Everything he’s doing this season is building bridges for the next couple of years, especially as they haven’t been able to add to their squad. If he can keep improving his players, this Chelsea side will be in a very good spot once the new faces are able to be brought in. The whole transfer ban could turn out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise as it’s forced the club to bring the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham through and, providing they keep going as they are, they look to have some potential stars on their hands.
I’ve been really impressed with Abraham. I really didn’t think he could translate his form from the Championship to the Premier League, but he’s shown he’s more than up to it. There is such a huge difference between the two leagues, so to do what he’s done so soon into his Premier League career is very impressive.
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