Red Letter: Make no mistake – Liverpool ARE title contenders

Date published: Wednesday 21st September 2016 11:50

Liverpool’s performance at Chelsea showed exactly why the Reds can challenge for the Premier League title, says Dave Tindall, who ponders several selection dilemmas for Saturday’s Anfield clash with Hull.

In last week’s Red Letter, I spoke about how good our home form has become. A reminder: P11, W9, D2, L0, F30, A8 going back to February.

This week, I’m going to rave about our away form because it’s been another excellent few days with the 2-1 win at Chelsea and 3-0 cruise at Derby.

And, you know, when a team boasts impressive form both home and away, it’s a pretty useful combination!

Well, that’s us right now. Liverpool FC are flying. We’re winning games, we’re scoring lots of goals and the optimistic mental flights of fancy we undertook when Jurgen Klopp was appointed are unfolding right in front of our eyes.

The performance against Chelsea was excellent with so many of our big players stepping up and delivering. While their fans took just two minutes to start singing about Steven Gerrard (jeez, rolls eyes), ours preferred to focus on the here and now and watch Liverpool play the hosts off the park.


READ MORE: Liverpool should cherish Henderson as skipper delivers on early career promise


With 20 minutes gone, a ‘goal attempts’ graphic flashed up: Chelsea 0 Liverpool 6. This was total dominance. Dejan Lovren had converted one of those and 16 minutes later Jordan Henderson curled in a ‘worldie’ to deservedly double our lead.

Okay, it wasn’t as fun to watch after that as we defended poorly to allow Chelsea to pull one back. But, as against Arsenal, when the hosts got to within a goal of our lead, we found another gear and wrestled back control.

This ability to dig in again after a setback is a hugely significant step in our development although it’s not getting mentioned a lot. The flowing, wonderful football is brilliant but if we’re serious title contenders we need this new-found robustness. Winning 4-0 every week would be great but knowing we can see out a game really does add an extra dimension.

Did I say title contenders? I did, and why not?

If you don’t believe me, check out the latest title odds where Liverpool are now clear second favourites.

Manchester City dominate the betting at 8/13 and right now it’s hard to see them ever failing to win a game. But, there we are at 11/2, seen as a bigger threat to City than 9/1 Chelsea, 12/1 Arsenal, 14/1 Man Utd and 16/1 Spurs.

Fair? I’ve pointed out these revised odds to plenty of non-Liverpool fans in the last week and the reaction has been to pour scorn on them. The general consensus is that we’re simply flavour of the month, the bookies are being too quick to dismiss our rivals and – a very common accusation this one – we’ll slip up too often against the weaker teams, just as we did at Burnley.


Hull clash is ‘ideal next test’

Jurgen Klopp: Blasted by Raiola

So, Saturday’s home game against Hull is the ideal next test.

Taking 10 points out 12 against Leicester at home and Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea away is great but we can’t dine out in fancy restaurants all the time. Now we need to add some bread and butter wins to the mix.

In that respect, the 3-0 win at Derby on Tuesday was a good sign. We were on it from the start, worked our socks off again and the extra quality shone through.

Competition for spots is healthy so Klopp has created the ideal environment for success. If anyone’s level drops, there’s someone ready to step in.

This time last year, Liverpool had scored just five goals in their opening seven games of the season. There was a sense of gloom around the place as Brendan Rodgers flapped around trying to find some answers in the post-Suarez era.

Twelve months on and, under Klopp, we’ve smashed in 19 goals in those opening seven games and from a much tougher fixture list too. There have been 10 different scorers.

While Conte and Mourinho fish about for a style and formula, Klopp has the benefit of a season under his belt and we have a plan and template firmly in place.

We need to cash in on the teething problems of others and build our points tally quickly. In our current form, a Hull side softened up by a big home defeat against Arsenal, should be cast aside with a minimum of fuss.


The starting XI v Hull

Loris Karius: Set for Liverpool debut

Klopp has so many options here and it starts with the goalkeeper. Karius or Mignolet? After his not-much-to-do clean sheet v Derby, it does seem the ideal opportunity to give our young German goalkeeper a Premier League debut.

The defence is picking itself (how good is Joel Matip?! – and a free transfer too) while Klopp is spoiled for choice for the front six. Georginio Wijnaldum threaded the play together superbly against Chelsea and should have a goal in him soon. He’ll likely be part of a midfield three with skipper Jordan Henderson and Duracell bunny Adam Lallana.

The front three? This is where it gets interesting. Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings will all want to play.

Personally, I think these are the games when the clever movement of Sturridge is a key weapon, with Hull likely to provide park-the-bus opposition. Firmino is an automatic unless not fully fit so, given that Coutinho played at Derby, maybe Mane will come back.

After scoring one and setting up the other two at Derby, Coutinho will feel aggrieved not to start against Hull. But, as mentioned above, it’s a sign of just how many in-form aces Klopp has in his pack to shuffle.


Dave Tindall

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Home Forums Red Letter: Make no mistake – Klopp’s Liverpool ARE title contenders

This topic contains 51 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by MrMakaveli MrMakaveli 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    James Marshment

    Liverpool’s win at Chelsea showed why the Reds can challenge for the title – but Jurgen Klopp has several selection issues for Saturday.

    [See the full post at: Red Letter: Make no mistake – Klopp’s Liverpool ARE title contenders]



    Good post James,Consistency is the Key,We have started very well and Last Friday’s win has underlined that We can mount a Title Challenge but I still feel it’s too early to really judge whether We have the Balls to go the whole Hog.A win against Hull is a must but it’s these games against the so called Lesser teams where We have failed over the last few seasons, I am impressed by the way the whole squad is responding to Jurgen’s needs and some of the signings from the summer are starting to show their worth, Matip looks a real quality defender and with Lovren is forming a very good partnership, Karius looks decent but I think Migs deserves to stay between the sticks for the time being in the League, Lallana looks like a new player and Hendo is starting to show some good form albeit in the last Two Games, Yes things are looking good but IMO still to early to say if We can win the League,Maybe We will have a better idea come January.



    Or wait till after Hull at the very least! We completely failed our only test so far against supposed ‘challengers for the bottom ten’.


    Sean the sailor

    Ah come on. Everything is positive at the moment but how many times have we seen us fall apart after a good start? Let’s see were we are in 6 games time after we play the likes of hull, Swansea, WBA, palace etc. hull is a horrible have for us. It really is ridiculous talking about a title challenge after 5 games.its very silly. If we are still in the top 4 after these 6 games then maybe we can start being more optimistic



    At this point Liverpool certainly look like one of a number of teams with potential to compete but it’s just typical of how everyone reacts to a good run of games. We’ve had a great start and the squad looks a lot stronger but in another month or so with a couple of dodgy results behind us, the attitude can very quickly change.

    Take United and Mourinho for example. Three weeks ago Mourinho was crowing about how strong a squad he had and what a great mentality to boot. The media were loving every moment of it as they tend to do with Mourinho.

    Three weeks later and the media are on his back questioning whether he’s got it anymore whilst Mourinho is lashing out at Shaw and Mkhitaryan for not having the mentality for it. You genuinely couldn’t make the stuff up! Man City are 8/13 to win the league after 5 games of the Premier League. There’s only 33 games left!!!

    We might have a chance but so do City, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea United and Leicester. We’re not quite there yet!!



    Sean agreed, lets get the next 6/7 games under our belt before deciding, if we maintain current form even I will change my expectancy.



    I’ll wait until we’ve played 10/12 league games before I decide if we’re in the title race or not.


    nine nine nine

    I thought this sites rules banned all talk of Liverpool being title contenders.?


    Personally, win, lose, or draw I’m more bothered about developing the Klopp philosophy this season more than anything. What I mean is I’ve accepted that Klopp has this season for free as far as I’m concerned. Whatever happens result wise i want to see the players giving 100% and trying to play the klopp way as much possible… In the long run its more important that the players start to consistently adhere to Klopps way of playing so that in the next few years the Klopp system will be ingrained fully. Once that happens then we can think of Klopp starting truly special…I can see the beginnings of it now already but i don’t think we are consistent enough to win the league….

    However, I can see why some people might think we can do it but it’s still early days. Peace.


    How many times have we called ourselves title contenders after winning some traditionally tough games only for the team to go flat to the more average ones? How many times do we feel the need to remind ourselves of this?

    This is why I think the distinction between staff and fans is important. It’s key that the players don’t drop the ball and find the motivation to beat the teams that we’re solid favourites to beat. As a fan, I think it’s fair for me to get carried away, after-all half the enjoyment of this sport is the hope.

    During Rodgers great season with us he kept shutting down the questions from the media regards our title credentials and it worked fantastically. He said “We’re focused on the next game only.” and he was so firm about it week after week, it worked. I would really love to see this kind of isolation being used as it keep the players focused on their next 3 points and to be very honest, a win against Hull this weekend would not only be good for our momentum and the obvious 3 points but for me it is another piece of the ‘title contender’ Jigsaw. It isn’t just about the 3 points, it isn’t just about beating your rivals or the top teams. I hate to channel Klopp for just a second but it is about finding solutions. With our injection of deadly pace along with the style of football that we’re perfecting, we’ve found the solution to teams who leave any space at the back or who like to take time on the ball. Our next one is maybe the most difficult and that’s to beat those teams who will be playing for what they can get.

    Che;sea was the test to see if we have the quality and I guess Hull is the test to see if we have the character and drive.



    Ah Dave, i do look forward to your “red letters”. You are a true optimistic red.



    I would like to add that this start to the season is equal or better than our last two title challenging campaigns. Same points as in 2014 and 2008 or was it 2009… But this start has been harder than those two, with more away games and getting 3 points away from home to Arsenal and Chelsea, then a draw against Spurs.
    That and the fortress that Klopp has built Anfield to be is going to carry us a long way to top three finish.


    Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing to be thrown in at the deep end. It’s a huge ask and it probably won’t happen but if we were to win our next 3 games, the atmosphere and general mood of our fans would be incredible. You all remember that carnival atmosphere that we had in the Rodgers title challenge run in? Imagine having that earlier on in the season? It’s a tall order because anything can happen in those 3 matches but I think the opportunity for that intense positivity is there.

    That kind of positivity amongst the fans leaks right down onto the field and that plays a major role in your team stepping up into that 5th gear.



    Notorious and MrMak – I totally agree. Don’t want to raise false hopes, but we can only worry about ourselves and let the other team worry about themselves.

    We are on the best run for a long time and there are parallels with former good teams. The difference with this team is that the depth of the squad is so much better. Rodgers was lucky with injuries, so had 11 team players to choose from pretty much all the time and Rafa only had a few players outside his starting 11 that could replace a first teamer.

    This team has several players that can slot in and add something different.



    There’s a reason why we play down the expectation. This side is known to be absolutely brilliant on their day and terrible the next. Lose to Hull and all of a sudden we’ll be a crisis club next week. It’s far too early to be talking about the title regardless of the start we’ve made. City have been far more convincing at both ends of the pitch and they’ve shown consistency where we haven’t. At the end of the day they have that bit extra over us and that’s just the favorites. We always do better in the 2nd half of the season and this season will be no exception with no European football. If anything talk of where we will finish should come after Christmas and in the January transfer window. I’d take a trophy and a top 4 finish right now given what we’re up against.



    Razor you can be sure as hell that Tindall will come crashing down after one defeat or two but I wount chance my stance, I think we are in for a top three finish this season and stated so before the season started. So far I can only see signs that I am right about it, all signs points to one hell of a season for us. We are scoring goals left and right, we are not buckling under pressure when teams get a goal back. Our home record is excellent ATM and from what I see so is our away record. The only thing that could make things hard for us is the defense but I reckon Matip and Lovren are more than capable of doing what is needed there.
    I´m not saying we are going to win the title but we will be close this season… City are the ones to beat, they look excellent this season and are likely to improve…



    *Make no mistake – Klopp’s Liverpool ARE going to win the domestic treble


    Ya, we’re not far in already and we’ve worked out that we can take the pressure. e nearly lost it at Arsenal but held firm. The old Liverpool would have thrown that away for sure. Then there was the Chelsea game, that was a real show of steel to hold on after that Chelsea goal. . and it’s not like they only had to hold out for a few minutes either.

    We’re making good progress, I’m always happy with progress.


    nine nine nine

    Robbie Savage hails Liverpool as genuine title contenders.



    I can’t subscribe to this. Purely because we need to get through more games.

    Too early, and it’s all about getting 3 points this afternoon against Hull.

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