Glen Johnson makes prediction for Chelsea's clash with Liverpool

Glen Johnson has backed Chelsea to beat Liverpool, but believes Manchester City are the frontrunners in this season’s Premier League title race as it stands.

Defending champions City are riding an 10-match winning streak in the English top flight and sit eight points clear of second-placed Chelsea at the top of the table.

Thomas Tuchel’s men, meanwhile, the Champions League holders, have badly struggled in recent weeks, drawing three of their last four league matches, and Liverpool will leapfrog them into second place with victory at Stamford Bridge.

Johnson, who represented both Chelsea and Liverpool during his playing days, reckons this weekend could be crucial in the title race, with Pep Guardiola’s side flying high after 20 games.

‘To give a team like City eight or nine points, it’s going to take some doing. We’ve seen stranger things happen for sure but City don’t show any signs of slowing down do they?’ the former England right-back told BoyleSports.

‘The injuries and the illnesses that the other teams are struggling with, City have players that can come in and they’re still a world-class team.

‘Their squad is unbelievable, they’re the team that can cope best with knock-backs. It’s just so hard to stop.

‘Stranger things have happened but if another team is going to catch them, they will have to go unbeaten for the rest of the season.’

Asked whether this weekend’s match is a title race eliminator, Johnson added: ‘It seems like a silly thing to say because it’s so early in the season but I think it is.

‘I can’t see City losing four or five games between now and the end of the season. So yes, I do think that one of these teams is going to have to win.

‘It will certainly be cagey. You’ve got two fantastic sides that have both dropped a little bit of form.

‘Chelsea with the home advantage, I think they might knick the win. Whoever wins this game is going to have to go pretty much unbeaten for the rest of the season if they want to catch City.

‘I don’t think anyone could pick a winner confidently but my gut feeling is that Chelsea can win 1-0.’

Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool, Tuchel said his squad would be ‘stupid’ to start thinking about the title race given their current fitness problems.

‘How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases, we have five or six players out for six or more weeks,’ the German told reporters.

‘How should we compete in a title race? Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.

‘We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.

‘This is the reality, this is where we are and we have to adapt to the demands of the situation which you are in.

‘This is what I am saying. I competed very hard for the win at Brighton at home. I don’t know what I can expect from my players in terms of physicality, intensity or minutes.

‘Nobody knows anymore because we have never done something like this. We play trial and error and see what I can do. I will protect my team. We can play better but we need the full squad over weeks and weeks.’

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