Liverpool can take City’s CL spot – James

City signed Raheem Sterling from Liverpool earlier this summer and have also added Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts to their squad, but James is not sure they have strengthened enough to maintain their Champions League status.

“I generally think Man City of the top four are the weak link,” the former England goalkeeper said at the launch of BT Sport’s new Premier League coverage.

“Man City, again, they have got all this talent, they have won the title twice – or rather tripped over the line twice.

“Look at Chelsea last season. The title was won in November. If Arsenal had started better, I think Chelsea would have carried on longer just to win the league by 10, 15 points, whatever.

“I don’t see the Man City model being right, just spending loads of money and acquiring players. It isn’t necessarily the model of continued success. I have seen changes elsewhere and at the moment I am not seeing that at Man City. It is just spend a bit more and expect success.”

Liverpool finished sixth last season, down from second in 2013-14, but James believes changes to the backroom team will lead to an improvement in the coming campaign.

“I am not one of the owners but if you look at the whole business model there is a flaw somewhere and, at the moment, they might think it is at the coaching level,” James said.

“I think this is the season of the coach. I think with the new coaches they have a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League at the expense of Man City.

“I am encouraged Liverpool have changed the coaching staff. No disrespect to the other people. The acquisition of so many players to Liverpool and no success, there has to be a reason for that. I think it is environmental, it is not recruitment.

“Now, with the new coaching staff, Liverpool will be winning far more games and the onus on Mignolet won’t be as acute. Statistically, he has been one of the high performers in the Premier League.

“That’s not to say as a Premier League keeper you should expect not to have to do too much work – when I signed for Liverpool, I fell into the trap that I wouldn’t be that busy as Liverpool were one of the best sides in Europe. Then suddenly I am out of the side because I let in too many goals.

“Liverpool haven’t won the league since 1990 – 25 years. But, using my brief experience as a manager in India, you work out what you do and what you let others do and Brendan has had three years where he’s done what he has wanted to do.

“I would argue now he is probably looking at a different way of doing it, otherwise the coaches wouldn’t have been replaced. You can’t spend £250m on players and have no success.”


Terry wants to emulate Giggs

The Chelsea defender was ever-present for the Blues least season, helping them win the Premier League.

Terry said he puts in extra work in training and in pre-season to ensure he can prolong his playing career.

And the 34-year-old hopes to follow in the footsteps of Giggs, who retired aged 40 last year to become assistant coach at Manchester United.

The former England skipper told Sky Sports News HQ: “In the last four or five years I’ve done a lot of extra work, not just at the training ground.

“The kids are a bit older now so I get a bit more of a lie-in.

“Putting the effort in the gym, training ground, off the pitch and eat the right food, I’m hoping to carry on as a long as possible.

“There’s an opportunity you see with players like Giggs of playing until a very big age.”

Chelsea, who face Fiorentina in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday, kick off their league campaign against Swansea City on Saturday.

And the defender said Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield has made the squad more determined to retain their title.

He said: “Sometimes you win, win, win. It’s not nice losing, we wanted to win the Community Shield.

“The only positive was we played well and more importantly the disappointment within the squad can be a wake up call, it could be a blessing in disguise.”

He added: “We are the team to catch.

“We realise we need to go on another level to last year which is going to be a tough task.


Should Wayne Rooney lead the line for Manchester United this season?

Louis van Gaal says Wayne Rooney will be Manchester United’s main man up front this season. We check the stats to see whether they are right to back the England skipper…

The Wayne Rooney midfield experiment appears to be over. Having deployed the 29-year-old in an unfamiliar deep role for much of last season,Louis van Gaal will restore Rooney to striker this season – and history suggests it could be a smart decision.

Robin van Persie’s move to Fenerbahce and the expiry of Radamel Falcao’s loan from Monaco have cleared the way for Rooney, who has not been trusted to lead the line for the entirety of a campaign since 2011/12, despite a record of 230 goals in 479 appearances for United.