Manchester City’s shock 3-2 loss at the hands of a depleted Norwich City side at Carrow Road on 14 September had Liverpool fans lining up for their spot at the Premier League victory parade.
Given the form of the two sides, you can perhaps understand why City and Liverpool fans might believe the Premier League title is done and dusted. Yet, despite such a close 2018/19 season and the incredible form of both outfits, it’s simply far too soon to give The Reds the trophy. Manchester City are also still the favourites to retain the title at 4/6 with William Hill.
‘We can still win this season…’
Some would suggest this mass panic is a nod towards the short-term, fickle nature of top flight football. It was City’s Kevin De Bruyne who tried to apply a touch of perspective after Norwich City’s spectacular display when he reminded everyone of last year’s comeback. He said:
“Last season we were seven points behind – it happens. Of course, we want to win every game but it is difficult.
“We lost four games out of 38 last season and that is a good record. We can still win this season with the same points at the end of this season.”
He added on Twitter the next day: “Without struggle, there is no progress.”
Although after five games, Liverpool held an unprecedented five-point lead, the Premier League season is incredibly long and the May finale feels a long way away.
Liverpool’s success isn’t without its burdens, however. City fans will be buoyed by the recent news that both Real Madrid and Barcelona are gunning for two huge Liverpool names. Manager Jurgen Klopp and defensive rock Virgil Van Dijk have turned the heads of the Spanish giants – from a City perspective, they’ll be welcoming anything that could even slightly rock the boat at Anfield.
Man City’s loss at Carrow Road – coming in mid-September – is far too early to prompt crisis talk. But the concern is understandable considering the state of the Canaries squad going into the game. The pre-match press conference on the Friday afternoon saw manager Daniel Farke having to read from a long list of key players with injuries.
There were so many injuries announced in the presser, Norwich fans were joking online that they would be bringing their boots ‘just in case’. In fact, Norwich’s starting 11 cost £6.45m in comparison with Man City’s £406.1m – that’s the beauty of sport though, right?
For Premier League fans, this dip in form – however brief – has been a shock. Yet it’s the odd shock like this that keeps us all interested throughout the season. As De Bruyne rightly stated in his post-match interview, it’s a difficult league and some perspective is needed – five games in is too early for victory parades – it just makes the race to May even more captivating.