Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness has thrown the Reds’ title hopes into doubt after their defeat to Arsenal. Jurgen Klopp’s side continued their disappointing run in the Premier League after they were beaten 3-2 by the Gunners and now sit 14 points from first place. However, Souness suggested that it isn’t just Liverpool who won’t be chasing top and instead claimed that the title is already wrapped up.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Souness said: "I've said this before - I think everyone's playing for second. If Man City have a good run with injuries - of course they'll get injuries - but if Man City steer clear of their main men getting injured for a long period of time then everyone else is playing for second place.”
Pep Guardiola’s side have looked unstoppable at the start of this season and are most people’s favourites to lift their seventh Premier League trophy. However, it is Arsenal that sit top of the table after their own stellar start and the Gunners will certainly be confident they can challenge City after their victory over Liverpool.
“This is new territory for these Arsenal players, Souness added. “Let's see how they deal with it, if they are able to stay there when the pressure mounts.
“They will have their injury problems, they will have loss of form problems. Right now they are playing fabulous football; they lost the game at Old Trafford, which they shouldn't have lost so they'll be thinking they're the real deal. I would say to them if I was in their dressing room, 'it is a long hard season'. You don't win it by accident, you win it by being the very best."
While Souness believes that Mikel Arteta’s side are ‘in with a shout’ of claiming the league title for the first time in 19 years, the pundit revealed the real challenge for the London club in stopping Man City from continuing their domination.
Souness added: "Yes. [Man City] have better players, they have got better strength in depth. Right now they have got Haaland... well, how do you stop him? That's the challenge for Arsenal. They can get tucked in and keep talking up Man City, as I'm sure Mikel Arteta will and try to take the pressure off his own players. If they keep going, of course they are in with a shout, but I believe that teams are playing for second place already."
Liverpool will be desperate to turn things around after the weekend’s loss and will need to do it soon to avoid an embarrassing result against Man City next weekend.