Rio Ferdinand has been taking up his regular pastime of talking nonsense about Liverpool once again, this time with a big claim as to why Arsenal are better equipped to win this season’s Premier League than the Reds.
Speaking to TNT Sports, Ferdinand claimed the Gunners have the better chance of claiming the title come May due to having better options at centre-back.
“The two centre-backs, they’ll be the reason why I would put them ahead of Liverpool in the title race to challenge someone like Manchester City, because you can trust those two implicitly at the moment,” Ferdinand said.
“They’re bang in form and that partnership is only going to grow the way they’re playing at the moment. They don’t mind coming places like this and having to fight. That’s the big difference as well.”
Does He Have a Point?
Absolutely not. In Virgil van Dijk Liverpool have one of the finest defenders in the game, a point even Ferdinand would be hard pressed to argue against. The Dutch giant was blighted by the drop in form suffered by so many last season which led to some claiming the player was in decline, but refreshed by the captaincy and a more positive outlook across the squad he is back as one of the very best there is. Neither Gabriel nor Saliba come anywhere close.
Alongside the captain we have generally seen either Ibrahima Konate (fitness permitting) or Joel Matip. Whilst Konate’s injury issues are definitely cause for concern there is no doubting the defender’s class, and when he is available he is more than a match for Gabriel.
Unlucky own-goal against Spurs aside, Matip has also looked assured this season. The former Cameroon international is another I feel is still being judged on last season’s performances, which were a lot more about team mentality than individual talent. With the squad in a much better place mentally he has been in excellent form, just as he was in 2021/22. Again he is at the very least Gabriel’s equal.
Saliba I will concede has looked like a class act since breaking through at Arsenal, and there is a fair argument to be made that he is a better player than either Konate or Matip. At 22 years old he could perhaps develop into one of the greats of the game, but van Dijk is already there and on present ability wins by a country mile.
The final point Ferdinand makes is about the willingness of Arsenal’s defenders to put up a fight, and it is here that his anti-Liverpool bias shows clearly. Whilst not yet perfectly polished the one thing you cannot accuse Klopp’s Liverpool 2.0 of is a lack of passion or effort, with the heroic performance against Newcastle and the valiant effort against Spurs proof of this.
As per usual, Rio has no idea what he’s talking about.