Merson Says: Premier League win is a bigger achievement than a Champions League win
Merson: Manchester City cannot possibly have a better season than Liverpool
Last Updated: 03/03/20 12:05pm
Paul Merson has dismissed any notion that Manchester City can have a better season than Liverpool if they win every trophy on offer but finish second in the Premier League.
Speaking on The Debate, Merson argued winning the Premier League over a 38-game season is a bigger achievement than winning the Champions League, and feels the domestic cup competitions come down to fortune and squad size.
With Liverpool 22 points clear and on their way to a first top-flight title in 30 years, Manchester City are in a good position going into their Champions League last-16 second leg having beaten Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu, and secured the first domestic silverware of the season in the form of the Carabao Cup on Sunday.
"Man City can still have a better season than Liverpool? They can't. They can't. Liverpool haven't won the league for 30 years. That's a feat to go and win it," said Merson.
"When you win the Premier League, it's 38 games, week in, week out. You turn up, you grind it. Sometimes you get beat, but you have to turn up again and keep on grinding out results.
"Liverpool won the Champions League losing more games than they did in the Premier League last season! How does that work?! That tells you everything. The Premier League is the ultimate, week in, week out.
It's called #TheDebate for a reason! @laura_woodsy is forced to take a back seat as @PaulMerse and @Mrjamieohara1 passionately put their points across...🤣— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 2, 2020
Premier League or Champions League - which would you prefer to win? pic.twitter.com/3Lm8RpKk6C
"Man City win the Carabao Cup because their squad is massive and they have two teams. The FA Cup is won by the draw; the team don't win the FA Cup, the draw does.
"Of course the Premier League is bigger than the Champions League. Much bigger! I'd rather win the Premier League, every day of the week. In the group stage you only have to win three games and draw one.
"Real Madrid? They're not the team they used to be. As a professional footballer, over the grind of a season, for me winning the league over a 38-game season is the ultimate.
"You can lose around a third of your games in the Champions League and still win it!"
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'Van Dijk over Henderson for POTY'
As voting season approaches for the PFA Player of the Year awards, Merson feels Virgil van Dijk should pick up the gong over team-mate and second favourite Jordan Henderson. Sadio Mane is favourite for the award.
"Virgil van Dijk has to be up there. If you took him out of this team and put him in City's team, City would win the league. If you put Henderson in City's team, he wouldn't even get in the team!
"At the start of the season, Raheem Sterling was putting up figures that not even Messi and Ronaldo were putting up, but he's not even a mention now. It's all about the moment in time. Nobody remembers August, September and October!
"Henderson, at the start of the season, wasn't always in the team, or was being subbed or was a sub, but I think he is a must now and has turned it around.
"He has dragged the team along when they have struggled, but for me he's been the most improved players, and he thoroughly deserves to be up there, but for me I can't get away from Van Dijk."
'Spurs all over the place'
After their 3-2 defeat by Wolves on Sunday, Tottenham are five points off the top four spots, and have conceded 33 goals in Jose Mourinho's 23 games in charge.
Merson is shocked at how open Spurs have been at the back under the Portuguese boss, even if they do have long-term injuries to forwards Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
"It just feels that Jose Mourinho can't wait for this season to end so he can start again. How many times in the Premier League era have you seen a Mourinho team involved in these goal fests? One thing I'd expect is for his side to be solid.
"I'm shocked the way they are playing, they are so open and all over the place. This manager is good enough to set a team up not to let in goals like they have been letting in goals.
"This man wins football matches, it doesn't matter how he wins them. He would rather win 2-0 than win 4-1! It worries me that he has to go out and excite the Spurs fans; if he's been brought in to excite the fans and not just win football matches, then he's in trouble.
"I've seen Mourinho with lesser players than that keep clean sheets. He won't be enjoying watching this open game. He prides himself on keeping clean sheets. Nobody wins everything without keeping clean sheets."