When Liverpool defeated Crystal Palace 4-2 last week, it led to manager Alan Pardew acknowledging that they were the best side he had gone up against so far in the 2016-17 season. Following a 6-1 hammering of Watford on Sunday, Walter Mazzarri has a similar reaction.
"First of all, congratulations to Liverpool because I am very, very impressed," the Watford manager told the press following the lopsided defeat suffered by his side on Sunday. "Not only tactically but physically with the running and the pressing. They are a really great team.
"From the teams that we have played against, there is no doubt that it is the team I am most impressed with. If they continue like this, then they are number one in my list for winning the Premier League, but of course this is only from the teams that we have played against."
The other sides Watford have played against so far this season include two of the current top four—Chelsea, and Arsenal—along with Manchester United. Watford lost 2-1 and 3-1 in their games against Chelsea and Arsenal. They defeated United by a score of 3-1.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and his players, though, don’t want to get carried away. Being top of the league in November gives them a foundation for a real title challenge, but the club have been here twice in recent seasons and in the end they came up short.
In 2013-14, Liverpool were on 23 points after 11 games—good for second, two back of Arsenal who were first with 25 points. In the end, Manchester City, who were four points back of Liverpool at the start of November, overtook them and captured the title.
In 2008-09, Liverpool were joint top of the league with Chelsea after 11 games. Like this season, they had 26 points. They were five points ahead of eventual winners Manchester United. In both cases, Liverpool were well positioned in November. In both cases, they fell short.
None of which should take away from the quality of play seen so far from Klopp’s side, but despite how impressed some of Liverpool’s opponents have been, in the end all that the club have done so far is build themselves a foundation for a title challenge.
There’s a long, long way to go yet if they’re to turn that foundation into something more, and looking back at their last two title challenges, it would be wise to consider anyone back to Tottenham—in fifth and five points back—to be a threat to their aspirations.