The trio were speaking after the Blues drew 2-2 with Liverpool on Sunday, a game which exploded into action during the second half and saw excellent goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne.
While Liverpool’s second-half performance was admirable, the pundits in the post-match studio felt Jurgen Klopp’s men will struggle to topple the reigning champions over the course of the campaign.
Asked if he thinks City are still the side to beat in the Premier League, Keane responded: “Absolutely. I think they’re outstanding. I think they’re a fabulous team, with the shortage of a main striker and they’ve sent another message today.
“We’re talking about the last week in particular in the Premier League, from the Chelsea win [last Saturday] and they’ve come here today and put in a really good performance. OK, they’ll take the 2-2 draw. I think it will be some effort for Liverpool, probably Chelsea or Man United to stop this team this year. I think they’re outstanding.”
What Liverpool lack compared to City
“Yeah, they’re the team to beat,” Carragher added. “I think the game last week against Chelsea was a big one for me because there was a lot of talk that Chelsea have their number, certainly over the last 6-12 months since Thomas Tuchel has come in. The performance they gave, was domination of Chelsea on their home patch.”
City dominated the first period at Anfield without taking the lead, and while Carragher thought Liverpool’s fightback was impressive, he still believes they’ll find it tough to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s men.
“It was almost complete domination from the last half an hour of the first half,” he said. “We’re thinking where are Liverpool going to go from here? They find something in the second half and get a point in the game. But for me, Man City are by far the team to beat.”
As for Richards, the former City defender highlighted the depth his old squad currently possess, which could push them on in the title race.
“It all comes down to injuries, doesn’t it?” he said. “If you lose a Salah or a Mane for a couple of weeks or months… we go back to the quality and off the bench they have some good quality but not the same level [as Chelsea and Man City].
“Where you can afford to lose De Bruyne for how many months last season? Bernardo Silva was nearly out the door and he comes in and puts in a performance like today.”
“If you look at Pep’s CV,” Keane added. “People always say: ‘he’s worked with the best teams or the best players’. But his record is just mind-boggling. He knows how to win matches and get his team over the line. They’re the team to beat.”