Liverpool won't make the top four - Arsenal legend

Paul Merson has argued that Liverpool will struggle to make the top four in the Premier League this season.

Former heroes of Arsenal and Liverpool appear to be stepping over themselves to write off each other's chances ahead of the coming season.

After Michael Owen once again tipped Arsenal to finish outside the top four, ex-Gunner Paul Merson has returned the favour.

A pundit for SkySports, Merson has written in his pre-season prediction column that he expects Manchester United to displace Liverpool and qualify for the Champions League.

He said: "I’ll say Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and probably Manchester United. I honestly think not being in Europe and having only one game a week will give Man United such an advantage over Liverpool.

"We saw Liverpool play once a week last year and they did really well, but now they are back in the Champions League and the emotions of those occasions could take over."

Having sole focus on the Premier League certainly worked in Liverpool's favour last season, and new boss Louis van Gaal may appreciate being able to put all his efforts into domestic competition during his debut campaign.

Yet few had tipped Liverpool to perform as well as they did last season, finishing second, and despite selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Reds are not going to give up that position without a fight.

Liverpool have been strengthening their squad depth this summer, and there could be more to come before deadline day.

The league promises to be one of the most competitive and open in years, and it certainly would not be a surprise to see the battle for positions go down to the very last day of the season.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch