EPL

Pires: Liverpool will win title unbeaten, but Arsenal 'Invincibles' had it tougher

By Sports Desk January 31, 2020

Liverpool will win the Premier League and match the Arsenal 'Invincibles' as there are no teams good enough to stop them, according to Robert Pires.

Jurgen Klopp's side are 19 points clear at the top of the table after winning 23 and drawing one of their 24 top-flight matches.

The Reds have not lost a league match in more than 12 months and look destined to win a first league title in 30 years, while they could also match Arsenal’s feat of going the entire league season unbeaten in 2003-04.

Pires, a key part of Arsene Wenger's fabled side during that astonishing campaign, sees no reason Liverpool cannot surpass their achievement as he believes the quality in the Premier League is not as high.

When asked if Liverpool could go unbeaten for the season, Pires told France Football: "Yes, because they have everything going for them: the team, the results, the luck, the coach... I think there are a lot of people who will agree.

"Considering how they have been playing for some time, I can't see who would trouble them. Even Manchester City... when I look at the match against City [a 3-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in November], there is too big a difference.

"It's how they all defend. They play in a 4-3-3 and as soon as they lose the ball, especially in the middle, they are strong, physical.

"I thought they would have a little drop in speed because they don't stop playing and they keep travelling. After Boxing Day, I thought they would fall apart anyway, and no the guys are still there physically.

"Today, technically the Premier League has dipped a little. It's a bit of an observation people make here. When you see the squads of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal, it's not as strong as it was a few years ago. The only ones who can trouble them are Manchester City.

"They will be champions by going unbeaten, but they can also beat our record. Everything has changed today. People will compare, but I think it was much, much harder in our time.

"As I said before, technically, many teams, particularly the big ones, have gone down a notch. There were no cameras, no VAR. When the guys wanted to get stuck in...

"And, above all, when you played away. I remember the matches at Leeds [United], Blackburn [Rovers], Bolton [Wanderers]... you had to get used to them."

Pires sees similarities between Liverpool and his old Arsenal side in the way in which they do not rely on one player to carry the team.

However, the former France star thinks the Gunners of old had more individual quality.

"I think we're quite close, fairly similar in terms of players, but not in terms of tactics since we were playing in a traditional, very old-fashioned 4-4-2. But physically and technically, I think we're very similar," he said.

"They, like us, have several players capable of making a difference, not only one or two. That's the strong point.

"Sadio Mane is Pires! [Roberto] Firmino is Thierry Henry. Again, I don't think anyone can match Thierry Henry, even though Firmino is very good. Titi is too far ahead.

"That's why I would have liked to see a Virgil van Dijk-Thierry Henry duel. It would have been really interesting.

"Henderson... no, Pat Vieira is stronger, I'm sorry. Gilberto Silva, too. "

Arsenal's unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2004, and they went on to lose a further four times that season as they lost their title to Chelsea.

Pires says Liverpool's acid test will come when their own run without defeat is ended.

"You win, you win, you win - there's no problem. You feel euphoric, invincible, which is normal. But when you lose, it's a real blow. You're not used to it. Psychologically, you take a hit, and you have to be careful afterwards," he added.

"They've been telling you for months that you're invincible, that you're the best team, and it can be brutal when that stops."

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