Firepower on the bench might be the difference between Manchester City and Liverpool this season, according to Emile Heskey.
Emile Heskey believes shallow depth in attack could prove Liverpool’s undoing in their bid to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.
The Reds have won each of their first six matches of the new season to race into a five-point lead at the top of the table.
City, though, fired a warning over the weekend with an extraordinary 8-0 demolition of Watford, the club’s biggest ever top-flight victory attained even as Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus watched from the bench.
Liverpool edged Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Heskey, their former striker, fears the run of results could come to a halt if one of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane is forced out of the starting XI.
The trio have already combined for 11 league goals in the club’s quest to make amends for last season’s domestic heartbreak.
“It’s a tall order because at this moment in time City have the best squad in terms of depth,” Heskey told Omnisport.
“If you take certain players out of City they’ve always got someone who can step in and do a specific job, the way the manager wants him to do it.
“Liverpool, if you take Salah, Mane or Firmino out, it’s not quite the same, whereas City have a better blend.”
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Divock Origi, the only other established striker in Jurgen Klopp’s squad, remains unavailable due to an ankle injury, while Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are yet to provide any Premier League goals from deeper positions.
Heskey added: “I think City have a better midfield. I’m not saying Liverpool’s midfield is bad, by the way, I’m just saying they have a better blend and they probably give you more goals from midfield.
“But if [Liverpool] keep the pressure on like they are doing, you never know.”
Ex-England international Heskey spent four and a half seasons at Anfield, winning the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and EFL Cup under Gerard Houllier.
The pair later reunited at Aston Villa and while success proved far more elusive, the Leicester City product regards the Frenchman as one of his most astute bosses.
“I had nothing but good experiences with him. One of the best,” Heskey said, rejecting former Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland’s description of Houllier as a “really horrendous” manager.
“He helped me understand and really learn football. Really meticulous in the finer details of things and living for football. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Gerard.
“When people ask me about the best manager I had, I always say two – Martin O’Neill and Gerard Houllier.”