Punters are scampering away from Manchester United’s odds of winning a 14th Premier League title this term in double-quick time after their 3-1 loss at Watford, with Liverpool now seen as the likeliest challengers to Manchester City’s early-season dominance following their 2-1 win at Chelsea.
The Reds may have been beyond impressive against Antonio Conte’s Blues, who were third favourites to win a fifth top-flight title in the Sky Sports era prior to defeat, but Liverpool still look a long way off Pep Guardiola’s league leaders at present.
A 2-0 loss at Burnley in their first road fixture of the campaign showed the Merseysiders’ weakness when teams ‘park the bus’, with Jurgen Klopp’s men much better away to attack-minded outfits such as Arsenal and Tottenham, from where they took four points in the early rounds of the season.
Both Swansea and West Brom frustrated Liverpool in the dying weeks of Klopp’s first term at Anfield, with the former winning 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium at the start of May and the latter hanging on for a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on the last day.
Contrast that with Guardiola’s City, who eked out a 2-1 triumph at home to a belligerent Sunderland outfit in their first match under the Catalan coach and haven’t looked back since, winning their past seven matches by a combined scoreline of 23-3.
Furthermore, the title favourites’ squad looks much stronger than Liverpool’s, particularly in defence, with Klopp’s decision to ignore the gaping hole at right-back over the summer likely to cause regret as the season wears on.
The German tactician’s goal at the start of 2016/17 was surely a return to Champions League football, with his side 6/4 for a top-four spot going into the campaign, so anything more would be a huge bonus.
With City seemingly unstoppable following successive 4-0 victories at home to Bournemouth and Borussia Monchengladbach, after flattering neighbours United by only winning 2-1 at Old Trafford, Guardiola’s seventh league title in management looks practically guaranteed.