In a season where there’s been a desperate paucity of good news for those associated with Liverpool Football Club, we were blessed this weekend with a beautiful profusion of positives. The Reds’ biggest win of the season so far came packaged with a rock-solid defensive performance that incapacitated Wolves’ heavily-hyped attacking trio of Adama Traore, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence. And in arguably even better news, Sunday’s victory also saw the heavily anticipated returns of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita. The former wasted no time in proving exactly how pivotal he is to this side, as well as his status a generational talent, by producing an inch-perfect cross to create the fourth of the night.
But Liverpool weren’t the only side to produce statement victories this weekend; Tottenham scored two sensational goals in their derby victory over Arsenal, to highlight why they’ve got the most potent attacking duo in the league right now. Chelsea, meanwhile, dispatched a newly-promoted Leeds side that have earned plenty of plaudits so far with relative ease. Liverpool are now level with Spurs at the top of the table, with Frank Lampard’s Blues just two points behind after their recent run of form. And should the Manchester clubs win their games in hand, United will be two points behind the Reds whilst City will trail by three.
It goes without saying that it’s early in the season; at this point though, we’d usually have at least a modicum of clarity as to who might emerge as genuine title contenders. But a congested fixture schedule has left the traditionally better sides like Liverpool and City hamstrung by injuries, while those who’ve spent the last couple of years vying for Champions League spots, particularly the likes of Chelsea and Spurs, boast new-look attacks that have worked wonders for them. Will this season really see a four or five horse race?
It seems nailed-on that Liverpool and City will remain in the mix all the way through – they’ve monopolised this league as of the last couple of seasons and experience alone should keep them in the race, regardless of current form or injury lists. The onus will be on the rest to prove themselves contenders rather than pretenders. There will be plenty of eyes on Tottenham, especially, who look the most likely to upset the Liverpool-City dominion. Under previous management, Spurs failed to pick up that ‘winning habit’ when given multiple opportunities to do so, with last year’s Champions League final defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s men in particular coming to mind. With Jose Mourinho at the helm, now though, it seems more possible than ever that the current league leaders could stake a serious claim for some silverware. It goes without saying that Liverpool will have to up the ante if they’re to ward off Tottenham’s challenge.
Essential to Liverpool’s cause will be the January transfer market. The Reds will need to be proactive in utilising a window which they rarely ever have under Klopp’s regime. If Michael Edwards and Klopp can find capable deputies for Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, our season could well be reinvigorated; in which case it’d be difficult to see any other outcome but one in this season’s title race. It’s been a tumultuous campaign so far, but the Reds have done commendably well so far with the cards they’ve been dealt. From here, though, I firmly believe that our fate is in our own hands.