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Manchester City: Aymeric Laporte injury could hand Liverpool title advantage, say ESPN pundits

Manchester City: Aymeric Laporte injury could hand Liverpool title advantage, say ESPN pundits

‘100 per cent’ – ESPN pundits think absent Man City player could give Liverpool title advantage

Aymeric Laporte’s long-term injury could give title rivals Liverpool the upper hand in the title race, according to a number of ESPN FC panellists.

Pundits Shaka Hislop, Steve Nicol and Brian McBride were all of the opinion that Laporte’s enforced absence from the City lineup will give league leaders Liverpool the edge as they search for a first title triumph in 30 years.

Laporte was taken off during City’s 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion after damaging his cartilage and lateral meniscus, with reports suggesting he will not return before the end of 2019 after undergoing surgery.

When asked about the effect of the Frenchman’s lay-off, the ESPN FC colleagues were unanimous in stating that Liverpool were in a prime position to wrest the title from City’s grasp.

Former Premier League ‘keeper Hislop let out a rather passionate “Yes!”, while ex-Red Steve Nicol replied “100%”.

Meanwhile, former Fulham striker Brian McBride was also of the opinion that Liverpool are now assured favourites to win the title this year, having backed Jurgen Klopp’s side from the beginning of the season.

While the pundits’ views were hardly in-depth (thanks to the panel engaging in a rather bizarre conversation about crystals), their opinions are arguably justified, nevertheless.

Laporte was the City defence’s main goal threat last season (with five strikes in his first full year in English football), and his potential replacement in John Stones conceded goals at a higher rate last season, compared to his defensive teammates.

Figures show that Stones conceded 0.77 goals per game last season – a greater rate than Laporte (0.62), Nicolas Otamendi (0.51) and Kyle Walker (0.55) in all competitions, according to FootyStats.

And with a lack of defensive options at City – particularly at centre-back following Vincent Kompany’s departure – perhaps the statistics suggest that Laporte’s injury will make their backline more vulnerable in the months to come.

Manchester City fans – how will the team fare without Laporte? Can you hold off Liverpool’s challenge until he returns? Let us know by commenting below!

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