‘Leicester forced the Premier League big guns to improve’ – Mark Lawrenson | Football | Sport

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Chelsea, Manchester United, City, Liverpool and Tottenham are all sitting pretty and looking formidable opponents for any of the Euro power-houses.

And that’s why Liverpool European Cup winning legend Mark Lawrenson believes they should all say a huge thank-you to Leicester City as they take up arms for the Three Lions.

In Lawro’s eyes, the fact that they won the Premier League as rank outsiders was a wake-up call for the country’s elite to re-invest and recruit more talent to restore their domination of the domestic scene.

That’s what they’ve done in the months since Leicester were crowned Kings of England and now the Big Five are reaping their rewards in Europe.

Lawrenson said: “The teams at the top of the Premier League are now far more qualified to compete against the Barcelona’s of this world, the Real Madrid’s and PSG’s.

“There’s no doubt that there has been a little bit of a shift in power. We’re not saying that the Premier League is the best. I don’t think it is.

“But do you know what? I think this is all to do with Leicester City. When they won the league, I think all the big boys suddenly went: Oh my God, we need to sort this out. We need to kick on.

“And in effect that’s basically what they have done. It made everyone concentrate with a ‘come on’ mentality. So we can thank Leicester definitely.

“If you look in terms of recruitment and investment that’s definitely what the Big Five have all done.

“Jose Mourinho has done that at United. Pep Guardiola has done it at City. Chelsea, well Antonio Conte will argue that he’s not got enough players but he’s just one of those blokes who always thinks he hasn’t got enough players.

“Liverpool are not great defensively but they’ve suddenly picked up in their Champions League. They’ve got Maribor at home which they should win to send them to eight points.

“Then you look at Tottenham. They are very good defensively with a great system. But you have to think if Harry Kane isn’t fit for the Champions League that’s not going to be great for them.”

So come on Lawro. Get the crystal ball out and gaze into the name of a possible English winner. The Liverpool legend looks no further than Guardiola’s City.

He added: “I don’t think you can call yourself a top team until you have won the Champions League. Apart from the World Cup and the European Championships, that’s the ultimate for club football.  

“I would probably go City because they have improved defensively. I still think they have a lot to do but the way they play they look a completely different team.

“They’ve gone up a couple of notches. They are really capable of keeping the ball against the really big teams so you would have to go for Pep’s boys.

“The other thing is that they get goals from everywhere. Is it Sergio Augero and Gabriel Jesus. The form of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. They will plateau out a little bit it’s only natural.

“But they’re sat on nine points in their group and you might argue they only need another draw. City have learned a lot of lessons from last year and I would go for them.

“I do think they can all go a long way. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever. I could well see two English teams playing against each other in the quarter finals. It doesn’t help the national team but hey-ho.”



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