Manchester City have Premier League immortality in their sights as they start their title defence this weekend , but Liverpool ’ s burning desire to get their hands on the trophy will fuel a heavyweight battle for supremacy .
In the blue corner , treble winners City is at the peak of their powers and look capable of enjoying a period of sustained dominance not seen since Manchester United earned three successive Premier League titles from 2007 to 2009.
But in the red corner , European champions Liverpool , chasing a first English title since 1990, have more than a puncher ’ s chance of ending City ’ s reign after pushing Pep Guardiola’ s side all the way to the final day last season .
The first blows will be landed this week as Liverpool kick off the new Premier League campaign against promoted Norwich at Anfield on Friday , before City head to West Ham on Saturday .
Sunday’ s no- holds- barred Community Shield clash showed the growing rivalry between England’ s pre -eminent teams , with City beating Liverpool on penalties following a 1 – 1 draw that underlined how little there is to separate the sides .
Adding Atletico Madrid ’ s Rodri for a club – record £ 63 million ($ 77 million ) gives Guardiola an even greater embarrassment of riches .
With five major trophies over the past two seasons — including Premier League crowns clinched with unprecedented hauls of 100 and then 98 points — City are the bookmakers’ favourites to become only the second club to win a hat – trick of English titles in the past 35 years after United did it twice .
Guardiola is a keen student of football history and has revelled in City ’ s record-breaking feats , so the opportunity to further bolster his team ’ s credentials as one of England ’ s all- time greats will not be lost on the Spaniard .
Although City have never won the Champions League and Guardiola last lifted it back in 2011 with Barcelona , he said domestic bliss remains his preferred passion.
“ To maintain the health and focus of the team , the most important thing is the Premier League , ” Guardiola said .
“ It is the standout competition because it is every weekend .
In the Champions League, many things can happen in one or two games.
“We will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles.
That is a nice process and the right process to do at Manchester City.
“ If I could have one thing this season , right now , it would definitely be the title . ”
It would be a surprise if Liverpool does not make City sweat right to the finish once again after bouncing back from last season ’ s agonising near -miss in the title race by winning their sixth European Cup .
No team has ever gathered more points without winning the Premier League than second – placed Liverpool did last season with their tally of 97.
Jurgen Klopp’ s side lost just once in their 38 league games — crucially that defeat came against City — but their 2 – 0 Champions League final win over Tottenham ensured there was no title hangover .
Liverpool had the Premier League ’ s meanest defence last season and boast an attack featuring two of the campaign ’ s three leading scorers in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane .
Despite that wealth of talent , Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits making a fast start is essential to stop City establishing a stranglehold at the top .
“ You just have to collect as many points as possible , especially in the beginning , and try to build a team who will be even better at the end of the season, ” Wijnaldum said .
“ We can try and do even better than last season .
Basically, it starts now because now we have the whole team together. ”
Challengers to City and Liverpool are likely to be thin on the ground .
Since winning the Europa League , Chelsea has lost star playmaker Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and hired an idolised but inexperienced new manager in Frank Lampard , who is working under the club ’ s transfer ban.
Guardiola suggests Manchester United are contenders after making £ 80- million – man Harry Maguire the world ’ s most expensive defender and landing young talents Aaron Wan – Bissaka and Daniel James .
But it is hard to imagine United , who ended 32 points adrift of City in sixth place , bridging that gap this season.
Arsenal have the look of pretenders rather than contenders , while Tottenham have not invested enough to satisfy boss Mauricio Pochettino despite a paying a club record of around £ 54 million for Lyon ’ s Tanguy Ndombele.
Share your story with us:sms-+2348107564051, WhatsApp – +2348107564051 – Email – email@example.com
Receive Alerts on: WhatsApp – +2348107564051, Twitter – Loudspeaker4naija , Facebook Page -Loudspeaker4naija, Pinterest – Loudspeaker4naija.com.ng, Instagram Page – Loudspeaker4naija ,Veener – Loudspeaker4naija , www.Youtube.com/Loudspeaker Tv
DON’T MISS OUT!! ON BREAKING NEWS AND TRENDING TOPICS
Get important updates via e-mail for free, you can unsubscribe anytime
Remember:Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Advertise with us. Send us enquiries , press release.