Liverpool will retain the Premier League title in the coming season, but perhaps not in the same dominant fashion as last term.
That’s according to Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher, who have both suggested we could have a more exciting title race on our hands in the 2020/21 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp ’s side romped home to glory in 2019/20, becoming champions with a record seven games still to play.
The Merseyside club finished 18 points clear of second-place Manchester City, while third and fourth place sides Manchester United and Chelsea were an astonishing 33 points adrift.
Yet while Ferdinand still regards Liverpool as title favourites, he believes injuries to key players could allow other sides to get closer to them this season.
“No one can say Liverpool had a freak season because they finished so far ahead of their rivals, but they did have one big factor on their side that they cannot guarantee going forward,” the United legend told TEAMtalk.
“The key for them has been having their key players fit for the best part of two seasons. It has been massive and what we have yet to find out is how they will cope if they are to lose a few big names for an extended period.
“Virgil van Dijk has played nearly every game for two seasons and it’s hard to keep that going. Mo Salah has been fit for all the big games and so has Sadio Mane. If they lose one of two of their players with big injuries, then we will see something else from them.
“What have they got in reserve to come in for these proven stars and maintain this level of consistency? That’s what we are waiting to see.
“Questions will be asked of this Liverpool team and their recruitment from this point forward. Their front three have been fit consistently and they might need to look at having some better quality in reserve if Salah or Mane, in particular, are out for a long period.
“When I look at the teams I played in when we were winning titles every season at Manchester United, we never had two seasons when all the top players were fit for the big games, so Liverpool have had some fortune there and obviously do things right on the medical side as well to get their players right.
“If they can continue to keep those players fit, I don’t see Liverpool being stopped this season, but it is unlikely that will happen year after year. If things change with the personnel, it opens it up for the other teams and not just Man City.”
Liverpool icon Carragher is hoping for a closer title race this season, saying: “I’m a Liverpool man and I want to see them win the league again, but maybe not in the manner they did it last season.
“We want and we need to see a competitive title race. I want to see the other teams get closer to Liverpool because we need it to be more competitive.
“We don’t want any team to be 20 or 30 points ahead and while I want Liverpool to win the league, I’d like to see them in the tight title race and winning it on the last day of the season in exciting fashion, going down to the wire and with less points than they got last season.
“If the top one or two teams are getting 99 and 100 points every season, it means there are fewer points to go around, so I would like to see the total points needed to win the Premier League go down to 90 points this season as that would mean we will have a more interesting title race.
“That could happen as I expect all the teams trying to chase Liverpool to do better than they did last season, but I only see two teams in contention for the title and that will be the top two for the last couple of years.
“The chasing pack have to bridge the gap on Liverpool and that’s why teams like Chelsea have been spending money in the transfer market to try and make that happen, but Liverpool and City are a long way ahead of the rest and I don’t see that changing.”