Arsenal legend Robert Pires is backing Liverpool to eclipse “the Invincibles” side he was part of but feels you cannot fairly compare both teams.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten in this season’s Premier League, having only dropped two points to date. They currently boast a 42-match unbeaten streak, eight games shy of breaking the Gunners’ record set all the way back in 2004.
Following a campaign (2003/04) that saw Arsene Wenger’s last championship-winning team record zero defeats, becoming the second English top-flight side to achieve such a feat in a season after Preston North End (1888/89), they would stretch their consecutive matches unbeaten to 49 games, with Man Utd famously preventing them notching 50 not out in a ill-tempered Old Trafford game.
The Reds are on course to matching and surpassing that record, but game number 50 will be at rivals Manchester City, who they battled for last season’s championship. City secured back-to-back titles on the final day, but their chances of another successful defence seem slim as Liverpool enjoy a 22-point lead (albeit having played one game more) with 13 matches remaining.
Pires, who played an instrumental role in Arsenal’s incredible run over 15 years ago, has nothing but love for Liverpool but feels the level of competition they’ve faced is a tad weaker than compared to 16 years ago.
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“Yes, because they have everything going for them: the team, the results, the luck, the coach… I think there are a lot of people who will agree,” he told France Football when asked if Liverpool can win the Premier League unbeaten.
“Considering how they have been playing for some time, I can’t see who would trouble them. Even Manchester City… when I look at the match against City [a 3-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in November], there is too big a difference.
“It’s how they all defend. They play in a 4-3-3 and as soon as they lose the ball, especially in the middle, they are strong, physical.
“I thought they would have a little drop in speed because they don’t stop playing and they keep travelling. After Boxing Day, I thought they would fall apart anyway, and no the guys are still there physically.”
Most seasons in the last decade have seen some combination of the ‘Big Six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Tottenham – assume the top-six spots in the Premier League. This time, however, the status quo has been disrupted as United, Arsenal and Spurs have struggled to get near the Champions League places.
Pires feels this has made Liverpool’s job easier, adding: “Today, technically the Premier League has dipped a little. It’s a bit of an observation people make here. When you see the squads of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal, it’s not as strong as it was a few years ago. The only ones who can trouble them are Manchester City,” he added.
“[Liverpool] will be champions by going unbeaten, but they can also beat our record. Everything has changed today. People will compare, but I think it was much, much harder in our time.
“As I said before, technically, many teams, particularly the big ones, have gone down a notch. There were no cameras, no VAR. When the guys wanted to get stuck in…
“And, above all, when you played away. I remember the matches at Leeds [United], Blackburn [Rovers], Bolton [Wanderers]… you had to get used to them.”
Can Liverpool go ‘Invincible’? Five things to know…
- Only one team has ever go a whole Premier League season unbeaten, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in 2003/04
- Liverpool have played 25 top-flight games without losing in 2019/20 so far.
- In fact, they lost only one game (away to Manchester City) in the previous season…
- …which also means they’re now on a 42-game unbeaten streak in the league overall.
- According to William Hill odds*, Manchester City away is the likeliest fixture Liverpool will lose during the remainder of the season, followed by Everton at Goodison Park.
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