Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool’s huge advantage over their Premier League rivals could evaporate quickly this season, but he accepts Jurgen Klopp’s dream team deserve to be hailed as title favourites.
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk at a BT Sport event, Manchester United legend Ferdinand poured praise on Klopp’s newly crowned champions, as he suggested they deserve to take their place alongside some of the great sides in English football after they ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a domestic league title.
Yet despite a dominant title win that saw them finish a massive 18 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, Ferdinand suggests the chasing pack should believe they can close that chasm and knock Liverpool off their perch when the new campaign gets underway next week.
“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,” begins Ferdinand.
“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.
‘What have they got in reserve’
“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.”
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