Liverpool news: Lee Dixon singles out the one biggest reason for gap to Man City | Football | Sport
Liverpool being nine points clear of Manchester City is all down to the injury suffered by City defender Aymeric Laporte, claims Arsenal legend Lee Dixon.
Laporte suffered a knee injury in City’s 4-0 win over Brighton on August 31.
The Frenchman is not expected to return from injury until early 2020.
City have had to use midfielder Fernandinho in defence and last Sunday’s loss at Liverpool has left them fourth in the Premier League.
Manchester City are seven points worse off than at this stage last season and Dixon says that is all down to Laporte’s absence at the back.
“I’m trying to put it down to one thing, I would probably say Laporte getting injured for me is the biggest factor,” Dixon said on The Season So Far.
“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.
“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.”