Roy Keane breaks character as Gary Neville makes joke at Liverpool's expense
At this stage, it is purely wishful thinking.
Friday night saw the 2022/23 Premier League season get underway, but not before we got the vital predictions of Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher, Micah Richards and Gary Neville.
The Sky Sports pundits were up in front of a footy-mad studio audience, and there were few ripples when all four suggested the latest Premier League season should be a two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool.
When host Dave Jones asked the quartet for their title-winner predictions, Keane, Neville and Richards all went for reigning champions, Man City. Carragher bucked the trend and, when Richards remarked, "Shock!", the former Liverpool defender was indignant.
"Do you want me to back it up?" he exclaimed.
"I'll tell you why [Liverpool will win], because of Virgil van Dijk, really. Every time Virgil van Dijk has been fit, fully at his best and has played a full season, Liverpool have got mid 90 points.
"Last season, he was still coming back from that cruciate injury and he wasn't fully fit. That's where Liverpool lost the league. They let City get eight or 10 points clear by Christmas. After that, Virgil van Dijk was back to his best, and Alisson, I must add. If Liverpool have Virgil right from the get-go, this season, I think they have a chance."
Roy Keane breaks character after Gary Neville gag
There was little doubt in Roy Keane's head, even after Liverpool won the Community Shield, that Manchester City are the team to beat. He has flagged Tottenham as a team to push the presumptive top two, and says Manchester United will 'surely have to' improve after a disastrous 2021/22 season.
There was a moment when Keane, outwardly stoic for the most part, cracked a smile and had a laugh. It came when former United teammate Gary Neville made a joking Liverpool admission. Neville said:
"Man City, I don't think there's any doubt that they'll be in the top two. Liverpool... I just always have this little hope, maybe, more than a thought, that they might just dip slightly!"
Roy Keane does often put up that stone-faced front when talking football, but Micah Richards told us, earlier this week, the former Manchester United captain is a teddybear.
"When I tell people this they don't believe me, but he's the funniest, most humble, sweetest person that I've worked with," Richards said. "And then, as soon as he gets on air... You need him on when Man United are playing!"
There was a telling moment, soon after, when Jones asked the studio audience who they believed would win. Most raised their hands for City.
When two hands shot up for Liverpool, Neville asked, "Are you Liverpool fans? Yeah? Thought you might be!"
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