Over the past few months, plaudits for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have been rolling in from their opponents, defeated players and managers regularly talking about how hard it has been to play against them and how they see Liverpool as legitimate title challengers.
Today, one manager who has yet to face off against Liverpool added his name to the chorus—and it’s a manager few would expect to go out of his way to praise the Reds. That’s because it’s Ronald Koeman, manager of local rivals Everton, doing the praising.
“It’s still too early to say who will be the favourites, but I have been impressed by Liverpool so far,” said the Blues boss. “Maybe that is not what you might expect the Everton manager to say, but they have been playing some very good football and deserve to be at the top.”
Clearly is is too early to name a favourite, and many would still point to Manchester City as the most likely side to win the league given their expensive squad and the pedigree of their manager. Yet more than a quarter of the way through the season, it’s Liverpool who are top.
It hasn’t been a perfect start, but it’s still been a hugely impressive one, especially on the attacking side, and the plaudits so far have been well deserved. But all the plaudits in the world won’t count for much if Liverpool stumble over a busy holiday run.
Once the international break ends, Liverpool play nine games over the final six weeks of 2016, including an away date with Koeman’s Blues—currently a strong seventh, level on points with Manchester United—on December 19th.
“They have goals in their team and this is what all successful sides need,” Koeman added. “Of course they can be champions this season, they have a good chance, but they are not the only contenders.”