"They are title contenders, in terms of the form they are in and the way they are going," McClaren said.
He also spoke about Jürgen Klopp's work thus far, drawing on his own experience as a nomadic manager.
"Everyone comes into a club in different situations," McClaren said. "I don't think anyone would dispute what Brendan had done. He had brought in some very talented players, and you have seen that Jurgen has taken that on."
"What Dortmund had, I can see that in the Liverpool team," he added. "They have got good quality players who work very hard. He is doing a great job."
Meanwhile, McClaren's team sits in 19th place in the league, and after another good week for the bottom half of the table, he'll need to fire up his players to have any chance at surprising the visiting Reds. It's important for Liverpool to look past his compliments and arrive at St. James' Park ready to fight.