So far this season both Manchester City and Liverpool have carried on from where they left off on the previous campaign. Liverpool have won all four of their opening games despite a frustrating pre-season, while the Blues have won three of their opening four.
So far, there has been no issue with scoring goals. Sergio Aguero is now current leading goal scorer with six in four games, while Raheem Sterling follows him with five in four. However during Saturday’s 4-0 defeat of Brighton, Aymeric Laporte was the latest to join the injured list alongside Leroy Sane and looks like he could be there a while.
The loss of Laporte gives the boss a headache as it leaves only two senior central defenders to choose from following the departure of Vincent Kompany.
Last season there was talk of the impending retirement of Fernandinho from his role in midfield with many suggesting Pep could get extra years out of the fan favourite if he could get him into a central defensive role – which made sense considering it already looked likely that the 2018/19 season would be Kompany’s last.
Fernandinho was introduced on Saturday following the injury to Laporte and in a post-match interview said that although the circumstances of his introduction were not how he would want to feature, he is nonetheless happy to play anywhere that he is needed.
Pep also heaped praise on his midfielder and agreed that it was certainly a viable option for him to use Ferna as a central midfielder after John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
Asked if he had already begun to prepare the Brazilian for a new defensive role, he said that he hadn’t and that they would now have to wait until after the international break.
However, Pep also pointed out other possible options for the position, stating that Kyle Walker could be considered at some point – the England international played in a back three during the 2018 World Cup.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom on the injury front, with Pep confirming that John Stones will be fit for the match against Norwich after the international break ,and with Kevin De Bruyne making a strong start to the campaign following an injury hit 2018/19 season.
The Belgium international has well and truly put last season’s frustrations behind him and has been back to his sensational best with five assists and one goal in the opening four games.
With United, Spurs and Chelsea all having a slow start to the season, it could be another season where City and Liverpool battle it out for the title.
City have one of the strongest squads in world football but there are still 65 more games to go in all competitions and the Blues will be aiming to go as far as possible in all of them. Pep will be hoping the early injuries are not signs of things to come for the rest of the season.