Peter Crouch has backed Jurgen Klopp to win the Premier League title in his final season as Liverpool manager, with Manchester City and Arsenal finishing second and third respectively.
Liverpool sit two points clear of City and Arsenal at the top of the table ahead of their clash with Burnley this weekend, though Pep Guardiola’s champions have a game in hand over their rivals.
Doubts were cast over Arsenal’s title credentials across a rocky winter period, but Mikel Arteta’s side have rediscovered their form and emerged 3-1 winners from last Sunday’s heavyweight encounter with Liverpool – their third straight victory in the top flight.
The Emirates clash was billed as a potential title decider and the Gunners passed with flying colours, as goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard sealed maximum points in front of a raucous home crowd.
However, former Liverpool and England striker Crouch – speaking on That Peter Crouch Podcast – said he was still backing Klopp’s Reds as his favourites to lift the trophy in May.
Asked if Arsenal have got a chance in this season’s title race, Crouch replied: ‘Well they’re up there now…
‘I think Liverpool [will win the title]. You can’t rule out Manchester City, but I think Liverpool will win it. City second, Arsenal third.
‘They’re a good side, Arsenal, they can beat anyone on their day. Very good side. They’ve got pace, that scares you doesn’t it?’
Arsenal’s post-match celebrations drew strong criticism from some fans and pundits, with former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher ordering a beaming Martin Odegaard to ‘just get down the tunnel’ on Sky Sports’ commentary of the game.
Arteta’s exuberant reaction also received a backlash from rival supporters – and Richard Keys – and Crouch is unsure why the Spaniard seems to be treated differently to his peers in the English top flight.
‘It winds people up doesn’t it. It feels like there’s something with him in general. I don’t know what that is,’ he added.
‘We all celebrate Klopp, but he doesn’t seem to be getting the same love.’
Crouch has been taken aback by the amount of goals in the Premier League this term, but believes it has been ‘great for the game’, with teams willing to take more ‘risks’.
‘I just think teams are taking more risks, they play out, they all go forwards together and leave two-vs-two at the back. Everyone is comfortable with that now,’ he went on.
‘It’s great for the game, it’s entertaining. Defensively, I think it was sounder back in our day.
‘You look at the teams at the top of the table: Aston Villa, Newcastle, Liverpool, City. They’re playing in the opposition’s half, throwing everyone forward and they’re comfortable defending.
‘I was watching Micky van de Ven the other day… what a player. How good is he?! He’s like an express train. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it.
‘They back themselves against anyone.’