After 30 years of pain, Liverpool fans are finally believing that this is the season they become the top dogs in English football once again.
And you can’t blame them for that. Jürgen Klopp’s side have a will to win that few can match and the way they combine their undoubted quality with a fighting spirit means they are a pretty formidable force right now. However, they shouldn’t be getting too carried away even with their lead at the top of the Premier League – because of the incredibly hectic schedule coming their way.
Whilst the Reds form has been commendable, many of their victories have come by the finest of margins. Late goals against Leicester, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, for example, have defined this team and backed Klopp’s claim that they are ‘mentality giants’.
Yet, those fine margins don’t always go your way. If the demanding fixture leads to the slightest tail off in performance levels, it could result in dropped points. Winning the Club World Cup in Qatar in December will be the aim and it’s certainly prestigious and fitting for Liverpool that they are competing on that stage. But, for a club so obsessed and desperate to secure the one prize that has eluded them for so long, that has become an unwanted and unnecessary distraction.
Travelling across the globe ahead of the notoriously difficult festive period is far from ideal and it will test this Liverpool squad to the max. The revelation that they will be playing two games in two days, due to their involvement in the League Cup, showed just how ridiculous their fixture list is.
Therefore, those who have already proclaimed the Merseyside outfit as champions this season because of their lead at the top may need a rethink. Even though Manchester City and the chasing pack have a lot of work to do to close the gap, Pep Guardiola’s side, in particular, shouldn’t be written off.
That’s not to say they don’t have problems of their own but one of the most valuable football tips could be to look at the odds for the classy Citizens to win the league. This is not a situation that is new to them and the role of chasing the leaders is not one that will particularly worry them.
Of course, the gap to Liverpool is more than they would like but they will also be looking at the schedule that Klopp’s men face and recognise that it’s a pivotal part of the season. If they can apply the pressure whilst they are in Qatar it could open us up to a dramatic finale, whilst City also host their rivals in the latter part of the campaign.
So, the Premier League may not have given us the dramatic title race we wanted as we approach the halfway point but that’s not to say it won’t come over the next few months. Ultimately, whether Liverpool can successfully navigate a remarkably busy Christmas period will go a long way to seeing whether they can finally be the best in England once again.