Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, centre, hopes he can translate his scoring frenzy into a title. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, centre, hopes he can translate his scoring frenzy into a title. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

At Liverpool, life at the top of the table feels pretty good



WHY LIVERPOOL CAN WIN THE TITLE

Luis Suarez

Since returning from his suspension, Luis Suarez has been in sensational form, scoring more goals per game on average than Dixie Dean did in 1927/28 when he set his record of 60 goals for the season. He has played brilliantly in partnership with Daniel Sturridge, and also as a lone front man, and comes as near to any striker in the Premier League era to being unplayable. Liverpool are playing well at the moment and he is reaping the benefit, but in this sort of form they could play atrociously and the suspicion would be he would still manufacture enough chances to win a game.

The midfield

In a world in which football seems to revolve around money and major signings, there is something heartening about the way Liverpool are competing on a relatively modest outlay. Organisation and discipline are the keys, and their pressing at times this season has been exceptional. Steven Gerrard remains a major figure, but against Tottenham Hotspur and, to a lesser extent, against Cardiff City they showed how good they can be without him. The trio of Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson seem to complement each other perfectly, a compelling blend of diligence, composure on the ball and energy. Henderson, in particular, is playing with great confidence and purpose at the moment.

Weakness of rivals

This is a strange season in the Premier League in that there is no team without flaws. Arsenal’s squad is slender and they are heavily reliant on Olivier Giroud. Chelsea seem to be struggling to adapt to Jose Mourinho, are yet to find their fluency and have been deficient at both ends of the pitch. Manchester City are awesome at home but vulnerable away. Tottenham are struggling to integrate their new signings. Manchester United are yet to find their form under David Moyes. This is a year of flux, and that could let in a less fancied side like Liverpool.

WHY THEY CAN NOT WIN THE TITLE

The squad

If Luis Suarez were to be injured, how would they cope? Could Daniel Sturridge lead the line alone? He did well in the early part of the season while Suarez was banned, but if both were out at the same time there would certainly be problems. Similarly without Philippe Coutinho, this is a side that lacks creativity from midfield. In defence they could probably cope with a couple of injuries or suspensions, but elsewhere this is a squad that lacks depth; a couple of injuries in the wrong area could cripple them.

Inexperience

One of the joys of this Liverpool side is that it is so fresh, so full of youthful players playing with freedom. Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar Donetsk coach, always said he prefers to work with young players because they lack the fear brought by experience. The flip side of that is what happens when they near the prize? At the moment, football is fun for the likes of Jon Flanagan, Coutinho, Henderson and Allen, none of them older than 23, but how will they react when the pressure is on with a couple of weeks of the season remaining? They might breeze through but, equally, they could buckle.

The defence

Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in their past six games – in the demolition of Tottenham. At the moment that isn’t really an issue – leaking a goal when you’ve already scored three or four doesn’t worry too many people – but the late collapse at Everton and the subsequent defeat at Hull are a cause for concern. It is a particular problem away from home, where Liverpool have let in an average of 1.6 goals per game.

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EXPATS

Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, Jack Huston

Rating: 4/5

Ferrari

Director: Michael Mann

Starring: Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey

Rating: 3/5

Heather, the Totality
Matthew Weiner,
Canongate 

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

AIDA RETURNS

Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement
John Heminway, Knopff

If you go:

 

Getting there:

Flying to Guyana requires first reaching New York with either Emirates or Etihad, then connecting with JetBlue or Caribbean Air at JFK airport. Prices start from around Dh7,000.

 

Getting around:

Wildlife Worldwide offers a range of Guyana itineraries, such as its small group tour, the 15-day ‘Ultimate Guyana Nature Experience’ which features Georgetown, the Iwokrama Rainforest (one of the world’s four remaining pristine tropical rainforests left in the world), the Amerindian village of Surama and the Rupununi Savannah, known for its giant anteaters and river otters; wildlifeworldwide.com

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Punchy appearance

Roars of support buoyed Mr Johnson in an extremely confident and combative appearance


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