For all of the talk about Chelsea being potential title favourites, recent weeks seem to suggest that it will be Manchester City and Liverpool battling it out for the Premier League come the end of the season.
Those two sides are in fine form at the moment and it looks unlikely that anyone will be able to keep pace with them.
Liverpool had a bit of a sticky patch earlier in the season, largely down to some frailties at the back. They certainly didn't look as solid as they did during their title winning season, although that was perhaps to be expected as Virgil van Dijk returned to full fitness after his long injury layoff.
In many instances, they required a moment of brilliance from Alisson Becker to get them out of trouble. The Brazilian struggled a bit at times last season, but has been back near his best since the start of this campaign.
That is what makes this take from Tony Cascarino all the more bizarre.
Speaking on talkSPORT, the former Ireland striker said that question marks he has around Alisson Becker is one of the reasons he is backing Manchester City to beat Liverpool to the title by around ten points come the end of the season.
🔥 “#LFC’s front 3 will have to do what they’ve already done so far to a higher level to keep close to City.”
😬 “I’m concerned about [the defence]. I’m a bit concerned about Alisson.”
Tony Cascarino reveals what he feels Liverpool’s biggest flaw is… pic.twitter.com/qhGTe7TjUB
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) December 18, 2021
I'm a little bit more concerned with the 3-2 I saw against West Ham and the 3-3 I saw against Brentford. I do think that might happen once or twice over the course of the remainder of the season...
I still think they're a tad short of what Man City have got. I say a tad, but I think it will be a ten point gap...
I'm a bit concerned about Alisson. I think he's been a big hot and cold. When he's good he's a brilliant goalkeeper, when he keeps the basics of his game and simplifies it.
When he overplays at times I think he's liable to a few mistakes. I've seen a number of mistakes this year compared to previous seasons.
Not that I wouldn't say he's not a great goalkeeper, because he is. I just think he's prone to an error more than what Ederson is at City.
Alisson is currently tied top of the golden glove standings in the Premier League (alongside Ederson), keeping nine clean sheets in 16 appearances this season. He has also made nine more saves than his compatriot. While he has conceded four more goals, he has also faced 11 more shots on target this season.
The advanced stats favour Alisson when comparing the two players also. According to fbref.com, the Liverpool man has conceded less goals than his xG faced would expect him to, while Ederson has conceded 2.5 more goals than the stats suggest he should.
Alisson has also outperformed Ederson when it comes to making decisive actions outside the box, the area where the Manchester City goalkeeper is said to excel.
In other words, Cascarino's argument that Ederson is more reliable falls apart when you actually look at the stats.
We suspect that Liverpool won't be too worried that Alisson will cost them dearly in this season's title race. In fact, he seems more likely to have the opposite impact.