Football

Liverpool will win English Premier League this season: Stuart Pearce

Former Man City manager believes Liverpool can overhaul his old team, even without major signings

Former Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce believes Liverpool are on the cusp of ending their long league title drought.

The Reds last won the English top flight in 1989/90, before the English Premier League era.

They came mighty close to winning the league last season, but finished a point behind City.

Liverpool's points tally of 97 was the most of any second-placed side and the third-highest in EPL history.

Pearce believes Liverpool will go one better this season, even if don't make any major signings.

The former England left-back told talkSPORT: "I predicted Liverpool would win the league last summer, and to get 90-odd points like they did and still not win it, you've got to give Manchester City massive credit.

"But I'm tipping Liverpool this year.

"It's the Holy Grail they're chasing with this Premier League title, and I think it will sharpen their focus even more now.

"It was a sensational season for them to end up winning only one trophy, albeit the European Cup.

"It was near exemplary, bar one defeat by Man City in the league."

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson agreed that City can be caught, despite setting the second-highest points total in EPL history last season.

He told Goal.com: "There's always a chance of catching a team that's just won the league.

"It depends on City, with how they replace (Vincent) Kompany, because he'll be a big miss for them. He was a real leader in the dressing room.

"It also depends (on) how you start the season, if you start it off really well, you can be confident.

"City have definitely got the ability to go win the league again, but they're definitely catchable as well."

One of the main reasons the Reds were able to push the Citizens close was the £75 million (S$127.9m) signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

BEST DEFENSIVE RECORD

In his first full season at Anfield, the PFA Players' Player of the Year helped the Reds concede fewer goals than any other team in the league.

Manchester United look to be trying to recreate the same formula as their arch-rivals, reacting to a season when they conceded more EPL goals than ever before, by trying to break van Dijk's record as the world's most expensive defender.

According to some media reports, United have agreed an £80m deal with Leicester City for England centre-back Harry Maguire.

Former Liverpool favourite Robbie Fowler, however, is adamant Maguire is no van Dijk.

He wrote in his Sunday Mirror column: "Harry Maguire is no Virgil van Dijk... Is Maguire as good as van Dijk? No.

"But he would still improve most teams in the Premier League - and if Manchester United decide to pay, then know he will make them far more formidable."

While a central defensive upgrade seems key for the Red Devils, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side are missing a player in the mould of Robson.

Robson, who was dubbed Captain Marvel, was a leader and midfield general during his 13 years at Old Trafford that yielded eight trophies.

Said Solskjaer: "We need to win again... We are on the way to building a new squad...

"I never had the honour of playing with Robbo, but we need a player like him in the team.

"We're waiting for the young ones to come through because we've got so many exciting players, and I'm sure we'll see the best of them in the years to come...

"We can get back to the level we were, definitely."

Football