Roy Keane believes Manchester City lack the firepower needed to win the Premier League this season, after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola's side were a distant second to the Reds last season and eight games into the 2020/21 campaign they already trail Liverpool by five points, sitting 11th in the table, six off early leaders Leicester City.
Interestingly, Man City have scored 17 goals fewer than they had at the same stage of last season, and Keane believes with Sergio Aguero struggling with injuries, they aren't able to make their dominance count in matches - and criticised them for not investing in a striker in the summer.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for City to win the league this year," he told Sky Sports.
"There was no way they were going to keep up what they've done over the last two or three years, the same for Liverpool.
"City, when you look at their squad, and the players they've lost, but also to go into the season where they're expected to challenge for every competition they're in, to have two strikers - and Aguero being 32, having one or two problems - and then just hanging your hat on one striker, they'd have to be critical of themselves, why they didn't strengthen in the summer with a striker.
You have to have strength in depth - particularly if you're expected to challenge for all the major trophies. I don't see City winning the league this year.
"I know there were other positions they wanted to fill, a centre-half I suppose was a priority. They've got nobody but themselves to blame for being short on strikers. You have to have strength in depth - particularly if you're expected to challenge for all the major trophies. I don't see City winning the league this year."
Striker Gabriel Jesus was on target for City against Liverpool but Keane believes it is Aguero who is the key frontman for Guardiola, and says the Argentina international's fitness concerns are a major issue.
"I think the big worry for City is they're always brilliant to watch and they control most games but that lack of goal threat, lack of goals they've got in the team," said Keane.
"They've got Aguero to come back but when he came back from his last injury he looked like he was carrying a bit of weight. You're thinking, 'has he still got that hunger and desire?' And Jesus, you can't hang your hat on him."
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Carra: Liverpool look more likely than City
Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, pointed out there have been more examples of Liverpool looking on track to return to their best levels this season than City - with the first 30 minutes of the clash at the Etihad an example, when the visitors were on top.
However, he also believes the demands of this condensed season make it challenging for all clubs and the astronomical points hauls we've seen in recent years from Liverpool and City could be out of reach anyway, opening the door for other challengers.
"I think last season, the big debate was - 'was that almost like a blip for City? The points they got. And not just City, Pep Guardiola as a manager'," said Carragher.
"Every season he's had with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City, almost, he's got 90+ points in every one. It was a big drop off last season.
"You're thinking again this season, 'is that just a freak and City will go back?'
In these early stages there are probably more signs of Liverpool getting back to their best of last season than there has of City.
"I think no team this season has looked anywhere near their best. It's a strange season, the lack of pre-season, City were still in Europe and their season was prolonged last season…
"But I would say in these early stages there are probably more signs of Liverpool getting back to their best of last season than there has of City.
"I think of the first half hour here, and the Chelsea game, and Arsenal, and Everton. Whereas Man City, there's just been a couple of real performances and you're sort of just waiting to see City really click and get back to where they have been in the past.
"Or is this City team that won the league with 100 points sort of slightly on the decline, and maybe they won't get those points again?
"I don't think any team is going to get the points we saw in the last couple of years and that's what gives everyone in this league a shout."
Pitch to Post Review: Could Jesus replace Aguero?
Jasper Taylor is joined by Ben Ransom and Gerard Brand on the latest Pitch to Post Review podcast to discuss the weekend action in the Premier League as heavyweights Man City and Liverpool punch each other's lights out for 45 minutes, then cuddle on the canvas.
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