Defender Joel Matip is adamant that Liverpool can beat any team in the Premier League if they play to their potential and expects a tight race for the title.
The Reds ran away with the spoils in 2019-2020 before Manchester City regained their crown last term. The two clubs are expected to tussle for the trophy in 2021-2022 although Manchester United and Chelsea might have a say in proceedings. Thomas Tuchel’s Blues sit at the top of the standings, with the Anfield giants one point and one place below.
City and Manchester United complete the top four in what is a congested top half of the table at present. Liverpool are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men drew 2-2 with City last Sunday. It seemed as though Mohamed Salah’s wonder strike might see the points stay on Merseyside.
But Kevin de Bruyne’s deflected late equaliser gave City a point they deserved from a quality encounter. The result may well echo what could happen during the season, with many pundits predicting it will go down to the wire.
Matip agrees but believes Liverpool will be the team to beat if they can maintain their current standards.
“I think we are in good shape and we don’t have to be afraid of any team, but we have to play our football 100 per cent,” he told Liverpool FC Magazine.
“It will be an intense and interesting season and we have a really good team. If we play at our 100 per cent level, we can beat everyone.”
Matip relieved to have Anfield full
Liverpool looked on track to defend the title last season before falling away badly after the turn of the year. There were no fans to lift them when times got tricky and only a late-season rally saw them qualify for the Champions League.
And Matip knows how important it is to have the stadium packed to the rafters.
“Playing in empty stadiums is something different,” he added. “Of course it is still football, but it feels different.
“It feels more like football when the supporters are there. It gives us extra strength. It is great being back in our stadium playing home Premier League games and trying to make the best out of having our fans back.”