This weekend marks the continuous play of the 2022–23 Premier League season, and many soccer fans have one thought: Does any side other than Liverpool or Manchester City have a legitimate chance of winning this thing? The northwest rivals have dominated the rest of England and the rest of the world for the better part of the last five years. But this year, Sadio Mané and Raheem Sterling will be noticeably absent from the rosters of both sides.
Mané left Liverpool for Bayern Munich in late June for a more than £27 million transfer price. Not to be surpassed, Sterling left City and moved to Chelsea for £47.5 million less than a month later. The possibility of a wide-open EPL table this year may be raised by double losses of that size. But let’s not go too far in that direction. And make no mistake, maintaining the status quo would result in another fantastic match of the Man City-Liverpool rivalry, currently the best in soccer. One of the two has won the championship in the previous five seasons.
A total of one point has separated them since the beginning of 2018–19, which may be considered the season that kicked off the rivalry between the two clubs. No other team has come close to City and Liverpool’s levels during the Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp eras, which helps to bring those statistics into clearer focus. Both teams have been nigh invincible in their defensive third and outlandish in their offensive third for most of the last five seasons, netting upwards of 80 goals in at least four seasons. Mané and Sterling were key players among both sides’ obscenely wealthy offensive arsenals.
Among the best forwards in the Premier League were Mané and Sterling. Each player has contributed 149 Premier League goals, including assists, in their career and is capable of playing on a forward line’s left, right, or through the center. It is impossible to say whether Liverpool or City would have been as dominating without Mané and Sterling or if they can be moving ahead. But it is not easy to think that they will be superior.