Pep Guardiola has claimed that had he had Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane at his disposal for the majority of the season that Manchester City would be much closer to Liverpool in the Premier League title race – and the Catalonia manager is absolutely right.
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) February 28, 2020
However, this only further vindicates Liverpool’s top-flight dominance even further. We are still only in February and already the Reds’ greatest title threat are talking up alternate realities where had intangible set-backs gone their way they may have been able to contain the inevitable Liverpool steam train.
With Sane and Laporte on a consistent basis last season, City were able to register the second-greatest Premier League points-total in history (98) – just two points short of their own personal tally in 2018.
The Citizens finished the season having lost just four games whilst winning a ridiculous 32 league fixtures in the process. Sane clocked up 47 appearances for City last season registering a commendable tally of 16 goals and 18 assists.
Meanwhile, Laporte was an ever-present figure for the current league holders last season racking up 52 appearances in all competitions and was Guardiola’s most used defender for the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.
The Frenchman helped record a club record defensive record of just 23 league goals conceded all season – just one more than Liverpool who leaked 22 last campaign.
However, although the City duo’s absence has been gargantuan in terms of the back-to-back league champions’ huge drop-off this time around, even with the pair at Guardiola’s disposal, it still inevitably would have done very little to stop Liverpool in their tracks.
At the same stage last season, City had already dropped 16 points by February whereas Liverpool have still only surrendered just two points all season. Guardiola’s troops had also lost four matches by this point whereas the Reds are still undefeated since their loss at the Etihad Stadium 13 months ago.
Also, even with Liverpool’s own injury problems, Klopp’s team have claimed 109 points from a possible 111 available since March. In 27 league matches, the European champions have conceded just 17 goals all season.
The reality of the matter is that Liverpool are showcasing a consistency that has never been witnessed before. Guardiola had assembled arguably the most formidable juggernaut the division’s 18-year history following two Premier League-winning campaigns that amassed a staggering 198 points.
Already within 9 months of City lifting their last title, Liverpool have usurped the Citizens as the dominant force in England.
The Premier League had thought they had seen it all, then Klopp’s ‘mentality monsters’ entered the picture.