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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp anticipates a close title race this season, saying he will “go all the way”.
Klopp guided his team to a resounding Premier League triumph last season, finishing 18 points ahead of Manchester City in second place. The Reds are off to a strong start in defending the title, and are currently at the top of the table.
However, the first signs suggest that this time it will not be so comfortable. Bitter rivals Manchester United are behind Liverpool only by goal difference, while Man City are four points off the top with a game in hand. Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton are also in contention as outsiders.
Speaking before his side trip to Southampton on Monday, quoted by the GuardianSaid Klopp: “If you’re neutral, you’ll love it. Our season so far is good, but I’m not surprised it’s so close. This year is tough.
“I’m pretty sure it will go straight to the wire. It’s difficult for all of us, that’s why it’s so close ”.
An injury crisis has hampered Liverpool’s chances of retaining the trophy, with several notable absences, especially in the heart of the defense. Dutch star Virgil van Dijk is expected to miss most of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, while Joe Gomez will also be out of the game in the long run. This has forced Klopp to trust his youngsters, with Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips called up for the starting eleven this season.
As it stands, Man Utd appears to be the most likely rival to the Liverpool throne. After a slow start, the Red Devils are ten games unbeaten, winning eight. This has put them in second place on goal difference.
Similarly, Man City seemed very off-beat in the first weeks of the season. However, three consecutive victories have seen Pep Guardiola’s team once again compete for the title.
On the contrary, Chelsea’s ambitions have been hit hard in recent weeks. The Blues found themselves on top in early December after a 3-1 home win against Leeds United. However, they have since taken just four points from their last six games, which has led them to drop to eighth place.