Premier League English

Gary Neville believes Tottenham and Chelsea are in serious contention and Liverpool not Premier League title runaways

On his podcast, Gary Neville insists Liverpool will not be a Premier League title runaway this season and ponders the possibility of an intriguing Jose Mourinho vs Frank Lampard title race instead.

“Is it a season where Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard gp up against each other in a title race? I thought Liverpool would run away with it, but not now, not the with Virgil van Dijk injury,” he quipped.

Neville also spared some thoughts on Manchester City’s struggles as Spurs ended the weekend top of the Premier League after a well-strategised 2-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday. It is the first time they have ended a day topping the summit since August 2014.

Mourinho’s team’s win sets up a much-anticipated clash with Lampard’s Chelsea next weekend, live on Sky Sports, as the West Londoners are also discovering an invigorating surge of form that has propelled them to within two points of Spurs. Chelsea’s fifth consecutive victory at Newcastle extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 games and had lifted them briefly to the summit until Tottenham pipped them temporarily in the race to the summit.

Speaking before Liverpool’s win over Leicester that took them level on points with Spurs, Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast: “I’m excited for next Sunday with Chelsea playing Tottenham.

“It’s an interesting season. We thought Chelsea might be interesting at the start of the season as they have a young, exciting squad – it looks like Frank Lampard is starting to get it right. He was still searching for his best team in the first few matches to try and fit everyone in. There were certain players that weren’t fit but now they are and he’s starting to work it out. They look pretty strong.

“Is it a season where Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard being up against each other in a title race? I thought Liverpool would run away with it, but not now, not the with Virgil van Dijk injury. That’s the one that is the gamechanger and exposes them a lot more.”

Although still early in the campaign, City are already sitting awkwardly in the bottom half of the Premier League table, having scored just 10 goals in eight Premier League games this season whilst they had scored 27 at the same stage of last term.

“The biggest thing for me is in transition,” Neville said.

“They are not as quick at getting the ball back. Teams are more comfortable playing a pass through them and taking a risk. City used to be all over you like a rash when losing the ball or would just sustain attacks – but it’s less than it was before.

“Ederson doesn’t look as comfortable in goal, he’s making mistakes he wouldn’t have made a couple of seasons ago. There seems too much reliance on Kevin De Bruyne. Something is not quite right.

“Pep seems to be searching for the right combinations. A couple of seasons ago you could reel off the team: Sane, Sterling, Aguero, De Bruyne, Silva, Fernandinho, Kompany – you could tell what was going to happen each game.

“I don’t get that feeling anymore that the fluidity and continuity is quite there.”