After four seasons of Manchester City and Liverpool looking like the only teams that really had a chance to take the Premier League crown, a new challenger has emerged this season in the form of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. While the Gunners are putting their best foot forward, the dominant sides of the recent past are struggling to reach previous highs.
City, while still Arsenal’s closest competition, have started to show some cracks and don’t quite look like the same dominant team they usually have under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage. And, we’re all well aware of Liverpool’s significant problems this season.
LFC manager Jürgen Klopp spoke about what seems to be the end of an era of dominance for Liverpool and City ahead of today’s FA Cup tie with Brighton.
“What happened in the league with City and us in the last few years was absolutely exceptional,” said Klopp. “It is a bit embarrassing to say but the level of consistency we showed in that period is crazy. Absolutely crazy. But we don’t use that even one percent as an excuse to say ‘five years we have been in charge of football, now we have to watch it like this.’”
Two teams dominating the league for four years is an impressive feat that can only be accomplished via incredible consistency. That lack of consistency is what is now opening the door for other clubs in the Premier League, and Klopp predicts it will only become more difficult for everyone to regularly compete as the level of competition improves.
“Consistency is really the most difficult thing to have in football and we will see how that goes for other teams when they have little drops or injuries,” said the German manager. “But it’s pretty likely it’ll get tougher for everybody up there to stay up there, to qualify for Europe, the Champions League and especially become champions.
“It will be absolutely difficult because of the quality of the teams, the money around, and the quality of the coaches which has improved a lot as well.”
Arsenal, with their 100-point season pace at the halfway point, are clearly the leader of a pack of teams pushing to make their mark and usher in a new era, but they aren’t the only team driving the level of competition forward according to Klopp.
“Arsenal are a sensational team. Mikel had time pretty much with just a little bit of European football in the last few years and he is doing an outstanding job. They will not go away easily and say ‘we had a year, thank you very much.’ United is in a really good moment, whatever happens there they will not stop investing and improving.
“If City, theoretically, do not win the league, I do not think Pep will accept this kind of situation for a couple of years. They will go again.
“Tottenham, Newcastle, Brighton are doing really well. We have to see how long Brighton can keep that team together. We know these kinds of things could happen so it makes it really interesting.”