John Barnes predicts Manchester City’s toughest challenge will come from Liverpool as they prepare to defend their Premier League title.
City started their campaign disappointingly, failing to create enough chances to score against European contenders Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Record signing Jack Grealish partnered with Raheem Sterling on the left of the city attack, but the forwards struggled to get beyond Spurs full-back Japhet Tanganga, who was in inspired form and collected the man of the match prize.
Son Heung-Min’s finish on the 55th minute proved to be the only goal of the affair, as Spurs ran out 1-0 winners at the impressive Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
However, ex- Liverpool and England winger Barnes expects City to find their best form before long and engage in an exciting four-way chase for the title.
“They (Liverpool) absolutely do have it in them to win the league, but so do Manchester City,” Barnes told BestofBets .
“My guess is that Liverpool and Man City will grab the two top spots followed by Man United and Chelsea — not necessarily in that order.”
City were the only team out of the four identified by Barnes not to collect three points at the weekend. Liverpool ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at newly-promoted Norwich City, whilst Chelsea and Manchester United were supremely convincing, winning 3-0 and 5-1 respectively.
Chelsea and United will take encouragement from the performances of their makeshift starting XI’s, with both sides missing players expected to make significant impacts in their hunt for the title.
It is expected that the marquee £97million signing Romelu Lukaku will play a part as Chelsea travel to the Emirates to take on London rivals Arsenal.
But City are still without a first-choice striker, with reports suggesting Pep Guardiola is not content with Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus as first-choice options to lead the attack. The Blues remain in the hunt for Spurs striker Harry Kane, but it is believed any fee for the forward would have to be in excess of £150m to tempt expert negotiator Daniel Levy.
According to reports, City transfer chiefs Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano have rebuffed efforts from the agents of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann this summer preferring to concentrate all their attention on priority target Kane.
Sign up to our City newsletter so you never miss an update from the Etihad Stadium this s eason.