Thursday 22 August 2019

Mark Lawrenson on why it will be harder than ever for Liverpool to end their 'wilderness years'

Jurgen Klopp celebrated on the pitch with his team following the win over Barcelona in last season's Champions League semi-final (Peter Byrne/PA)
Jurgen Klopp celebrated on the pitch with his team following the win over Barcelona in last season's Champions League semi-final (Peter Byrne/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson believes his former club will be beaten to the Premier League title by Manchester City on the final day of the season.

The former Republic of Ireland defender believes Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool class of 2019 would be a match for the greatest teams in Liverpool's history, yet he fears their hopes of winning the Premier League trophy will be blocked by City for years to come.

"It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that Liverpool and Manchester City have gone through the final few weeks of this season winning every game and I expect that trend to continue this afternoon," said Lawrenson.

"While history tells us that title pressure gets to players at this time of the year, the two teams at the top of the table this year are a little different when compared with most who have gone before them.

"City might just be the best team we have seen in the Premier League era and with that in mind, you have to hand it to Liverpool for staying with them until the very last game and giving themselves a chance of ending the club's long wait for a title win.

"When I left Liverpool in 1988 after winning trophy after trophy for many years, it was impossible to imagine the club going nearly three decades without winning the league title and yet that is where we are now.

"Even though this is clearly the best team Liverpool have had during those wilderness years, getting over the line to lift the biggest prize in English football has never been tougher."

Liverpool must beat Wolves today and hope City slip up at Brighton to win their first title in 29 years.

"This Liverpool team is as brilliant as any of the great sides that won league titles and European Cups for the club down the years, but they are unfortunate to have come together at a moment when another truly fantastic team are playing in the Premier League," added Paddy Power ambassador Lawrenson.

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"I have been to a lot of City's games recently and even though they have only been winning 1-0, they have been comfortable in most of the games and probably had another couple of gears to go through if needed.

"That's why you would expect them to beat Brighton and clinch the title this afternoon, but the pressure is on Guardiola's side, as they know Liverpool will be ready to pounce if they are showing any signs of last day nerves.

"Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his players would have taken the position they are in right now when this season started as last summer, the only question was whether City would win the title by 10 or 15 points once again.

"Finishing second with 97 points would be hard to take for Liverpool, but they have done everything possible to stand up to a team everyone believed was invincible and by doing that, they have given themselves an outside chance of nicking the title on the last day."

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