Both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to be celebrated for record-breaking seasons, in which they achieved a combined 195 Premier League points. Pep Guardiola’s City won four domestic trophies, while Jurgen Klopp’s league runners-up have the not-so-small consolation of a Champions League final berth.
They also managed the best combined goal difference (+139), 184 goals (an average of 2.4 per game each), 62 combined wins and 41 clean sheets.
In many ways, it’s an achievement that should be celebrated: City and Liverpool have both been thrilling to watch, they are playing some of the best soccer England has ever seen, and they pushed each other in a title race that went right down to the wire.
But for the health of the league and the sport at the top level, the top two teams taking 195 points isn’t great.
The Premier League had a duopoly of sorts between Manchester United and Arsenal in the late 90s, but the league has generally built its reputation on having a Big Four and then a Big Six.
The City/Liverpool duopoly is unprecedented—Chelsea were a distant 25 points behind in third place, and it seems unlikely that either Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp’s sides will be caught next season.
City’s FA Cup Final win over Watford was a clear indication of the huge gulf forming in the Premier League: Pep’s side looked like they were playing an entirely different game to Watford—and it’s been the same case against many other Premier League sides this season too.
The discrepancy between the top of the league and the rest has never been wider.
The Premier League is in danger of having a predictable outcome like La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga, where one or two teams tend to make the title race… uninteresting.
And it could be argued that the dominance of major sides is a continental issue: for the first time ever, the titles in each of the European Big Five Leagues were retained.
So, what’s the solution? Well, it would be very difficult to limit City and Liverpool’s power, but as they dominate—and the likes of Bayern Munich and Juventus continue to sweep their respective leagues—the argument for a breakaway Super League gets a little stronger.
It sounds like sacrilege, but if the likes of Man City are already playing on a different level to everyone else, why don’t they… go off and play on a different level?