In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, John Hartson discussed the title race and suggested that Liverpool have a huge advantage, and not just because they already boast an eight-point lead.
The Reds are in impressive form with eight wins from eight in the Premier League. Brushing aside the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea in the process, and they currently don’t look like a side that will lose any time soon.
However, despite their 100% record they haven’t always impressed, and in recent games they have got over the line thanks to more than just the quality of their players, but the former Wales international believes that is a big positive.
Speaking exclusively to FFC, Hartson said: “Winning ugly is a good sign. This season they’re winning games by the odd goal. When you’re not quite at it but you’re still winning games that is an incredibly good sign.”
The former striker refers to their past two league matches in which they have earned narrow victories over Sheffield United and Leicester City, relying on a last-minute penalty against the latter to maintain their winning start.
It is a great trait to have, and a characteristic of many title-winning sides – even Pep Guardiola’s brilliant Manchester City – and an aspect of Liverpool’s play that Jurgen Klopp has no problem with.
Much has been made of Liverpool’s early lead but some think it is too early to write off City, a sentiment Hartson agrees with.
“It’s very, very early. I’ve never seen a league title being handed out in October, but they have got a brilliant lead.”
One factor that strengthens the Reds’ place at the top of the table is their rival’s defensive vulnerability.
Due to injuries they have resorted to playing Nicolas Otamendi and the out of position Fernandinho in recent games, resulting in defeats against Norwich and Wolves, and there are signs that things aren’t quite right.
Speaking about the impact injuries will have on the race, Hartson added: “I think Laporte is a fantastic centre-half. So Man City will be missing him yes of course.”
With Guardiola’s side lacking their most reliable and defensively capable defender for an extended period of time, there’s no doubt the Reds have an early advantage in the title race.