John Aldridge makes an ominous prediction for Liverpool next season after near miss in title race
John Aldridge believes Liverpool will need to break the 100-point barrier in the Premier League next season to have any chance of ending Manchester City's domination of the game, as he suggests Pep Guardiola's side now have a stranglehold on English football.
City became the first side in English football history to complete a domestic clean sweep of trophies as they won the FA Cup with a 6-0 win against Watford in the final at Wembley on Saturday, and Liverpool goal-scoring great Aldridge believes it will be the first of many trebles for Pep Guardiola's side.
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While Liverpool pieced together a magnificent campaign that saw them finish with 97 points to finish second behind champions City, Aldridge suggested Jurgen Klopp's side will struggle to match their efforts of this season when they target title success once again next year.
"Liverpool are looking at getting 100 points or more to have any chance of winning the Premier League title next season and that must be daunting for Jurgen Klopp and his players," states Aldridge.
"You can look back at the season that ended with Manchester City lifting the title and pick out moments where Liverpool could have done better, but it is very harsh to criticise a team that collected 97 points and would normally have won the title by a distance.
"Maybe Liverpool could have displayed a little more attacking ambition in the away draws against Everton and Manchester United, or maybe they could have managed the game better when the score was 1-1 in what proved to be a decisive game against City at the Etihad Stadium in January, but that would be picking holes in what was a near perfect season.
"Liverpool finished with a total that would have left them seven points ahead of the Arsenal team that went through the entire 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten, which sums up how bloody brilliant they were over the last ten months.
"In the end, the only defeat they suffered came in that away game at Man City, on a night when Liverpool had a goal ruled out in the game by 11.7mm. In the end, that tiny margin may well represent how close they were to ending the club’s 29-year wait for a league title.
"They fought so hard, turned draws into wins time and again and proved they were a team worthy of winning the Premier League, but they are unfortunate to be operating in an era when one team are playing to different rules to the rest of the Premier League financially.
"City will spend big again this summer and bulk up what is an already incredible squad and by the time the Premier League gets underway once again in August, the challenge facing Liverpool and the rest of Englands’ top clubs will be monumental once more.
"Guardiola and his players must have been rattled by Liverpool’s staying power in the title race, with Guardiola and his players fully aware that they have a rival who will come at them again next season.
"Yet the reality for Liverpool is that they need to achieve virtual perfection if they are to end what will be a 30-year wait for a league title next year and the longer than barren run continues, the harder it will be to end it."
Read John Aldridge in the Sunday World every weekend.