Jamie Redknapp has claimed that Manchester City's decision not to sign a centre-back to replace Vincent Kompany could have handed Liverpool a boost in the race for the Premier League title.
Kompany left for Anderlecht during the summer, but Guardiola chose to move forward with just Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as his senior centre-backs. However, with both Laporte and Stones now injured, City have been forced to desperately search for ways to cope.
City were linked with moves for the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Harry Maguire but ultimately deciding against pursuing either, and Redknapp told Sky Sports (via the Liverpool Echo) that doing so may have gifted Liverpool a chance to lift the trophy.
He said: “The Laporte absence is the story right now. Make no mistake about it. I felt in the summer they didn’t want to recruit after losing Vincent Kompany, De Ligt obviously went to Juventus and I thought that would be the profile of everything that City look for.
“Maguire went to United and I thought it’s unusual for them because it’s usually spot on. You can’t foresee an injury like that when someone is out for six months but you have to be ready for every eventuality. Right now, it looks like it could cost them.”
Without their two first-choice defenders, Fernandinho has been forced to drop back to cover, whilst young Eric Garcia was also named on the bench for City's 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
Liverpool have had their own injury problems, having lost goalkeeper Alisson in the first game of the season. In his place came former West Ham shot stopper Adrian, who has enjoyed an impressive first few months at Anfield.
“Liverpool have got a huge advantage, not just because of the five points but because of the situation they are in. They’ve managed to win their five games without their best goalkeeper, they’ve been perfect and they managed to turn it around and win after conceding silly games," Redknapp added.
“This, for me, makes Liverpool favourites now. They’re five points ahead. There is still an enormous amount to go but they’ve got a six-month injury to one of their best players, it’s the equivalent of taking Virgil van Dijk out of Liverpool’s back four."