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Jamie Redknapp claims Liverpool would only claw their way into the top four without the influence of Virgil van Dijk in their team.
The Dutch centre-back, 28, was instrumental in the Reds' success last season and was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year last month.
But the 46-year-old Redknapp likened Van Dijk's impact at Liverpool to Manchester City's situation with Aymeric Laporte, who has been ruled out for six months due to injury.
Speaking after City's shock 3-2 defeat to Norwich City on Saturday, the Sky Sports pundit said: "This, for me, makes Liverpool favourites now; they're five points ahead and there's still an enormous amount of time to go.
"Sorry I keep saying it, but you've got a six-month injury to one of your best players. It's the equivalent of taking Virgil van Dijk out of [the] Liverpool back four, for me.
"That's what we've seen today. If you take Van Dijk out of Liverpool, it's a team that just scraped into the top four. You put him in the team... 97 points [in the league] last year, win the Champions League.
"That's how big of a difference that Laporte makes to Man City as well."
"If you take Van Dijk out of Liverpool they will just about scrape in to the top four"- Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 14, 2019
Jamie Redknapp believes Aymeric Laporte's injury means Man City are no longer favourites for the Premier League
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City boss Pep Guardiola has said that the club will not enter the January window with the intention of buying a new defender to cover the injured Laporte.
"It will be long -- five or six months, January or February maybe -- next year for sure," the Spaniard said.
"My advice to you is not to write too many names about the winter window, because you are going to make a mistake. I don't think it's going to happen.
"I heard already we are interested in this player or the other player.
"I would like to say to all the clubs in the world: 'Don't be nervous, because we are not interested in any players or central defenders in Europe.'
"We are going to survive with the players we have. Maybe in December we are going to start to think about it -- maybe. But we could not invest in this situation in the summer, we cannot do it in winter.
"That's why we are going to wait with the players we have, with the two central defenders [John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi], with Fernandinho, with Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, even some players in different positions we can use there. We're going to move forward."
Liverpool opened a five-point lead over defending champions City with a 3-1 win against Newcastle at Anfield.
Jetro Willems stunned the hosts when he opened the scoring with a superb finish in the first half, but Jurgen Klopp's men successfully mounted a comeback to maintain their 100 per cent winning start in the league.
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Featured Image Credit: PA
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