Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes that Liverpool would not be unduly affected by a draw in their next Premier League match away to Manchester United.
Liverpool go into the October international break with their 100% record in the league this season still intact after eight games and, with two more rounds of Premier League action this month, already know that they will be top at the start of November irrespective of what happens between now and then.
When the league resumes, the Merseysiders make the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, who lie in 12th place, 15 points behind the leaders and with just one win in their last seven Premier League games.
While the form book would suggest a Liverpool victory, Merson feels that a draw would not be a poor result for the Reds, given the buffer they have built up between themselves and Manchester City.
He told Sky Sports: “At the start of the season you are probably looking at this game and thinking a point at United is a good result. You don’t know how bad United are going to be and you have a bit of a plan along the way as to what points you expect to get.
“Liverpool are ahead now. They’ve got points where they probably thought they weren’t going to get them so a draw would be okay for Liverpool in this game.
“If Jurgen Klopp’s side took four points from the next two games I think Manchester City would be in major trouble.”
Merson has a point in saying that a draw at Old Trafford might not be a terrible result for Liverpool, given that they have won there just twice in their last 15 league visits.
However, any dropped points for the Reds in their next two fixtures against Manchester United and Tottenham would likely give Manchester City plenty of encouragement, given that they negotiated similar circumstances at a later stage last season.
When Liverpool beat Arsenal 5-1 at the end of December 2018, they were 10 points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side. Less than six weeks later, Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Everton put them top of the table and they ultimately won the league by a point from the Reds.
Also, Liverpool’s failure to win at Old Trafford last season came in the midst of a six-game run which yielded only two victories and gave the title initiative to Manchester City, and that was despite having 65% possession against an injury-ravaged United team.
While Merson is right in stating that Liverpool could probably absorb dropped points at Old Trafford for now, last season’s drastic turnaround would suggest that the Reds cannot afford to give Manchester City a sniff of a chance to haul back the eight-point gap, especially with more than three-quarters of the season still to play.
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Liverpool fans, do you agree with Merson that a draw at Old Trafford would be a decent result? Comment below with your views!
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