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Micah Richards has backed Pep Guardiola and Manchester City to win the 2020/21 Premier League title.
The blue side of Manchester lifted the trophy in back-to-back seasons before Liverpool dominated last time out to claim their first top-flight triumph in 30 years.
City have strengthened with the additions of Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres this summer as they look to bridge the gap – and Richards believes they have got what it takes.
The 32-year-old has also predicted that Manchester United and Chelsea will finish inside the top four, in a similar result to how the table ended up last time out.
Richards made his predictions in his column for the Daily Mail, and said of Guardiola at City: “Guardiola will be desperate to wrestle the title back. The title race will be tighter this season.”
After tipping Liverpool to finish second, he said of Jurgen Klopp’s test: “The challenge is to maintain standards and defend their title. Will be intriguing to see how they fare as the hunted rather than the hunters.”
Richards then backed United to finished third, and said: “The combination of Bruno Fernandes behind Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford has brought back the flair. Still plenty of ground to make up on the top two, though.”
Before predicting Chelsea to finish fourth, and adding of Frank Lampard: “Some say he had a poor season, taking Chelsea from third to fourth and losing the Cup final. Others argue he performed fantastically to secure a Champions League place with a transfer embargo and losing Eden Hazard.”
Klopp insisted in August that rather than going out to defend their title, Liverpool will go all out to win another one this season.
He said: "We will not try to defend it, we will try to attack the next one.
"That's the truth, you don't change your approach. That is what we always did and there is no reason for changing it.
"Motivation will not be our problem. I know this team will not stop trying.
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"I don't expect everything to happen for me, I never expected it, but I expect I will give absolutely everything and I expect the boys to do that as well."
Before adding: "When I came here I was really surprised how much a game against Liverpool means to other teams, even when we were not considered as Liverpool of the past, like seventh or eighth in the league.
"When we arrived at the stadium I thought, 'Wow, they really have a proper go for it'.
"That has never changed, so I am not sure we can have a bigger target on our back than we already had last season.”
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