Ryan Giggs believes Liverpool have a “real chance” of winning the Premier League this season – and admits the prospect is one that fills him “with dread”.
The Reds, in their second season under Jurgen Klopp, went into the weekend level on points with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the table as they bid for a first league title since 1990.
Former Manchester United winger Giggs, who won 13 Premier League crowns during his time at Old Trafford, thinks Liverpool’s lack of European commitments this season could prove decisive. They missed out continental competition by losing last season’s Europa League final to Sevilla.
Writing in the Telegraph, Giggs said: “During that final against Sevilla, it occurred to me that if Liverpool had this season without the draining effect of European football, and had recruited well in the summer, then they would have a real chance of challenging for the Premier League.
“With a year at the club, Klopp would be better suited to the demands of the English game, his players would be well adapted to his way of playing and they would have no mid-week distraction from the task at the weekend.
“Liverpool have put themselves in contention this year.”
Giggs also feels the departure of captain Steven Gerrard has helped rather than hindered Liverpool.
He added: “Watching Liverpool it is notable that since Steven Gerrard left there is no big star in the side. Philippe Coutinho is a talent and Jordan Henderson has done well to step into the captaincy. He looks like a good lad and a dedicated professional. Gerrard’s departure has forced others to fill the gap and sometimes that can be a good thing for a club to move away from a focus on one individual.”
Watching Liverpool be crowned champions is clearly not a sight Giggs would enjoy, though.
“As for the prospect of Liverpool winning the league for the first time since 1990, they would not expect me to say anything other than it fills me with dread,” he said.
“A long time ago they challenged United to come back when we had won it 18 times. Twenty years later United had raised the bar to 20 and no-one on my side wants to see it swing back the other way.”