With the Premier League almost at the halfway stage, the title race definitely has a more open look to it this season than for some time. After 18 matchdays for most clubs, the top six in the table were separated by just five points. Unlike previous campaigns, there isn’t just one or two teams running away with the division and the competition is all the better for it.
An exciting title race with credible challengers looking to dethrone Liverpool is reflected in the Premier League odds available in the outright market. Manchester City are the current favourites to regain the trophy with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds second-best at the prices and a resurgent Manchester United third in. As ever with the Premier League, there are subplots galore to what unfolds on the pitch. Last season, it was Manchester City and their decision not to sign a replacement for long-time defensive leader and club captain Vincent Kompany that many pundits and experts believed played a crucial role in them surrendering the title.
Their loss was Liverpool’s gain after 30 years of waiting for another league championship. Now the boot is on the other foot, however, as the first-choice centre backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are both long-term injury absentees yet Klopp ruled out bringing in replacements to Anfield.
Make do and mend is an admirable sentiment, but it might cost the Reds a successful defence of their crown. Given time to scout and source the right recruitment, Man City looked to have unearthed the solution to their defensive issues in Portugal international Ruben Dias.
Yet it has not all been plain sailing for Pep Guardiola’s team. City has been without star striker Sergio Aguero for much of the campaign so far and, after a decade of service at the Etihad, his prime years may be behind him.
Just as they solve one issue, another crop up. Goals haven’t been a worry during Guardiola’s reign so far, but City has scored fewer than Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea to date. Manchester United being in the Premier League title race is something of a surprise after finishing last season 33 points adrift of Liverpool. For the time being at least, they are above them in the table.
Bruno Fernandes, a winter window signing last year from Portugal, has added goals from midfield to the Old Trafford outfit but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs more from the forwards in front of him. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani have only scored a dozen times between them in the Premier League so far.
Leicester ran out of steam in their bid for a top-four finish at the end of last season, so Brendan Rodgers will want the Foxes to maintain their current position. Spurs, meanwhile, have potent attacking options in 24-goal strike partnership Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min pleasing Jose Mourinho.
Tottenham cannot be discounted with that prolific pair leading their line. Even Everton, who backed boss Carlo Ancelotti to the hilt by buying him a new midfield over the summer, are in with a shout and Premier League fans have an absorbing product to watch.