Jordan Henderson: EPL Title Race Will Be More Than Liverpool, Manchester City

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Sporting CP and Liverpool at Yankee Stadium on July 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson expects the title race to consist of more than just the Reds and Manchester City in the new season. 

The pair were head and shoulders above their rivals last season as City took 98 points and Liverpool 97, while their nearest competitors, Chelsea, finished on 72.

Per Goal's Ben Spratt, Henderson said:

"Everyone will talk about Liverpool and City because they won the league and were so good and we won the Champions League. It is easy to do that.

"You have to look at the other teams. They are going to improve. There are more teams than us and City who will be competing.

"But you have to respect them so much for winning the Premier League back-to-back. That is so difficult. They keep raising the bar and keep improving with the squad they have.

"So, we need to be doing the same and I think we will. The players are hungry. They want more. They want to keep working hard and the manager will make sure of that.

"We have great senior players in the team. We have to focus on what is ahead and keep challenging for all the trophies."

The England international's comments echoed those of his manager, Jurgen Klopp:

Goal @goal

🗣Jurgen Klopp on the Premier League title race: "It became a two-horse race last year, but unfortunately there are too many good clubs in this competition... [City] are the big favourite, and all the others try to beat them - and we are one of these teams." https://t.co/PzXn0Op9a0

Although they finished fourth, Tottenham Hotspur are perhaps the side best-placed to rival the duo.

Spurs took a significant step toward establishing themselves as an elite team when they reached the UEFA Champions League final last season.

They were also the team that came closest to making last season a three-horse race, as they were only five points off the lead in mid-February. By that point, United were already 14 points behind, while Chelsea and Arsenal were 15 back.

Unless Liverpool and City drop off significantly, it's difficult to imagine United, Chelsea or Arsenal will make up the necessary ground.

Chelsea have lost their best player in Eden Hazard, and a transfer ban has restricted their recruitment. In Frank Lampard, they also have a manager untested in the Premier League.

The jury is still out on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford after United finished the last campaign with two wins from 12 matches in all competitions, and they shipped 54 goals last term.

Arsenal struggle defensively, too, having conceded 51 in each of the last two seasons. They're yet to bring in a centre-back for the upcoming season—William Saliba will remain at Saint-Etienne on loan for the campaign—so improving enough in that regard will be tricky.

The Gunners haven't reached 80 points in the Premier League since the 2007-08 season. Not since 1998-99 has a team won the title with fewer than that benchmark.

Football writer Henry Jackson expects City and Liverpool to accrue fewer points than they did last season:

Henry Jackson @HenryJackson87

Do I think Liverpool will win the title? They have a chance. Will they get 97 points again? No chance. Was an incredible, freakish effort but people shouldn't be expecting the same. Expecting 87/90. Personally think City will get fewer, too.

If the title race is to be more competitive, their rivals will need them to finish on a smaller total.

City's tally of 98 points was a follow-up to a record-breaking 100-point campaign, so they're remarkably consistent. As for the Reds, they lost just once on their way to 97 points.

If they manage to achieve a similarly exceptional level this time around, it will be a two-horse race once again.