Liverpool triumphed 1-0 over Manchester City in their last game of 2016. It wasn’t necessarily a comfortable win, but the Reds got the result they needed against a Top 4 rival. The result allowed Liverpool to keep pace in the title fight, with Chelsea still lingering six points ahead in first place.
Antonio Conte has done wonders for a Chelsea side that many assumed would be in a rebuilding year. And while the team struggled in the very beginning of the campaign, they’ve since gone on to win an incredible 13 league matches in a row. There’s a growing consensus that the title race is now Chelsea’s to lose.
But if they do slip up, Liverpool are in excellent position to take advantage, relative to the rest of the top end of the table. And Jürgen Klopp thinks his side is maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe starting to get under Chelsea’s skin.
“We cannot have a look at Chelsea. They are unbelievably strong of course and are on an outstanding run. They've won now, I don't know. 12, 13 games in a row? Not bad! But can you imagine how annoying it is when you have won 13 games in a row and there is still one team, only six points behind? But I'm pretty sure they don't think about this so why should we? It is completely not important what happens in this moment apart from the fact that we win games. It's so difficult in this league, unbelievably difficult.”
It’s a fair point that Liverpool have a tough challenge ahead if they want to overtake Chelsea, and there’s still half a season to play. But the message to Chelsea and the rest of the league from Klopp is pretty clear: don’t sleep on us.
Incidentally, the next best opportunity to gain ground on Chelsea comes in exactly a month, when the Blues come to Anfield on January 31st. Assuming they manage to keep pace until then, Liverpool could conceivably close the gap to three points. That’s a pretty nice thought heading into 2017.