‘Absolutely no chance’ - Liverpool legend writes off City’s survival chances
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson says Norwich City have ‘absolutely no chance’ of avoiding Premier League relegation this season, as he bemoans the financial disparities in English football.
The long-time BBC pundit was speaking to Irish media outlet Off The Ball to review this weekend’s top-flight action, when the Canaries lost 2-0 at Everton.
Despite being promoted as champions of the second tier, Norwich have lost their opening six matches and will equal the Premier League record for seven successive losses at the start of the season if they can’t avoid defeat at Burnley on Saturday.
City’s transfer outlay came to a total value of around £50million, combined with the club-record sale of Emi Buendia to Aston Villa for an initial £33m, after losing around £35m in expected income in the last 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
That was combined with a Covid-19 outbreak severely disrupting pre-season and an opening four fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal – leading to a damaging 3-1 home defeat to Watford after a difficult opening month.
“Money. It’s quite simple. Money, wages, everything about it. That’s just the way it is,” Lawrenson said, referring to Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United already occupying their expected top-four spots.
“They’ve left the Tottenhams, Arsenals and other teams in their wake and just signed bigger and better players.
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“It’s not a great worry for the Premier League but I think it’s a great worry generally if you take it through to the bottom six teams. Norwich haven’t got a point, have they.
“The problem is that the gulf between the Premier League and the Championship has gotten even bigger.
“Before you throw Brentford at me, Brentford I think will win a lot of games because of the way they are.
“They’ve an outstanding manager and the boy up front, Toney, is a proper, proper player. But also they play in a certain way, they know their roles and they are going to win games.
“You may as well relegate Norwich now because they’ve got absolutely no chance of staying up.
“It’s going to be them and an extra two going with them.
“It is money. It’s easy to say but that’s what it is. You look at the likes of Liverpool and just the players that they let out on loan. The majority of them would absolutely cruise the Championship.”
DAVID FREEZER'S VERDICT
Lawrenson's credentials as a player and pundit are undoubted but this is one for City boss Daniel Farke to pin up on the dressing room wall.
The comments haven't been made out of spite and need to be taken into the wider context that Lawrenson was discussing, of the financial gap between the Premier League and Championship.
Yet to totally write a team off after just six games is clearly unfair, particularly given the difficulty of Canaries' opening fixtures.
Crystal Palace recovered from losing their opening seven as recently as during 2017-18, going on to finish 11th after replacing Frank de Boer with Roy Hodgson after five games.
However, all pundits outside of Norfolk will inevitably have City's nightmare 2019-20 relegation fresh in their memory as well, so it's understandable that survival chances will be written off by many.
Becoming an established Premier League club is always going to be a case of trying to upset the established order as a self-funded club but without a point on the board, it's difficult to channel any form of underdog spirit.
The Canaries are millionaires trying to upset the odds on a billionaires' playground, trying to prove everyone wrong. Any added fuel to that fire should be welcomed amid the current struggles.
- You can listen to our review of the Everton game in the latest episode of the Pink Un Podcast above or by clicking here