The Premier League hasn’t even hit its half-way point yet. That comes later this week, when clubs play their 19th game of the 2017-18 season ahead of a very brief Christmas break. Yet already the eventual league winner appears quite thoroughly inevitable.
Manchester City sit on 52 points, more than ten points clear of their nearest competition. Arsenal and Tottenham are currently closer in points to the relegation zone than they are to City, and Liverpool are just one point nearer the title favourites than the bottom three.
That doesn’t mean Liverpool are about to stop trying—there is both the Champions League and the top four to play for. But manager Jürgen Klopp is a realist when it comes to just how well City have been playing and how good a side their money has built.
“A lot of teams are in good shape but City win all the games so it will be difficult to get them,” Klopp said following Sunday’s 4-0 victory over Bournemouth. “I have respect for them. They are not maybe flying in this moment—they are working hard for it.
“If they struggle like nobody with their quality has ever struggled, maybe someone will be there. But it doesn't look like it. But if I stopped working because I couldn't be league champion, I wouldn't be here. We have many things to play for, and I’m enjoying the season.”
There’s still the league and top four. It may not be a trophy, but it’s essential for ensuring the club’s long-term prospects and setting up a chance to win in the future. Plus, unlikely as a collapse seems, one never does know what happen to City in the new year.
Then there’s the FA Cup, kicking off with a match against Everton and a chance at revenge against a side Klopp and his team know they can outplay thoroughly. And in the Champions League, Liverpool are currently sixth favourite with most odds makers.
But before that—the new year and second half of the season and Champions League and FA Cup—there’s the small matter of the final game of the first half to look forward to—against Arsenal on Friday. A big game, and another reason for Klopp to get excited.
“Most of the time our football is really good to watch,” the Liverpool manager added “Now w play next Friday against Arsenal, and wow. That's a really hard one, but we are looking forward to it.”