Arsenal legend Lee Dixon explains main reason Liverpool are so far ahead of title rivals Manchester City

Liverpool have pulled clear of Premier League title rivals Manchester City
Liverpool have pulled clear of Premier League title rivals Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal legend Lee Dixon believes the absence of Aymeric Laporte is the main reason Manchester City have slipped so far behind Premier League title rivals Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola’s side, who are bidding to win a third successive league title, fell nine points and three places behind leaders Liverpool after losing at Anfield before the international break.

France defender Laporte only made four appearances for City this season before suffering an injury that will keep him sidelined until 2020.

City are missing French defender Aymeric Laporte
City are missing French defender Aymeric Laporte (Picture: Getty)

And Arsenal hero Dixon said: ‘I’m trying to put it down to one thing, I would probably say Laporte getting injured for me is the biggest factor.

‘I think he is a brilliant defender, I think he holds down that left-hand side of the defence, whoever is playing at left-back he can kind of control that side of the pitch and obviously his centre-half on the inside.

‘So that’s a big area of pitch to replace somebody.

‘You can put a body in there and I think that’s been a problem at centre-back as is well-documented, with Fernandinho going in there who’s a brilliant footballer but he’s not got that sixth sense of somebody just nicking in-behind him off his shoulder.

‘The amount of times you go ‘they’re in position’ but somehow someone gets in, the little ones around the corner are difficult to deal with, especially around the box.’

Dixon, speaking on The Season So Far show, added: ‘I think Laporte, his absence, has caused a real problem with that area of the pitch.

‘And then taking Fernandinho out of [midfield] to put him elsewhere, there’s a kind of domino effect in the team.

‘With the ball I don’t think they’re that different, they’re still brilliantly exciting to watch. But I think defensively that one area is affected a lot of the team and that’s probably why.’

Following the international break, defending champions City will look to return to winning ways against Frank Lampard’s in-form Chelsea side.

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