Sixteen games into the 2020-21 Premier League season, and Liverpool are right where they were this time last year: top of the league. However, unlike last season when the Reds ran away with the title, this year’s race is looking very, very tight.
Last season, at this stage, the league was a one team race. The season before, it was two teams as Liverpool battled Manchester City. This season, seven points separate first place and tenth place in a table as congested as the schedule.
It seems likely that congested fixture list playing a part, leading to injuries, tired players, and dropped points. Whatever the cause, though, Liverpool’s Andy Robertson says it’s time for the Reds to start beating the clubs at the bottom of the table.
“Over the last two years or even three years—and no disrespect to those clubs—but we would have won those games,” Robertson told Sky today. “Add two points to every one of those games then the league table is looking a lot different.
“But this season is going to be unique. There are seven or eight teams, once the games in hand have been played, that are within three points of us at the top. I think I can say it’s not going to be 97 or 98 points that is going to win the league.”
After looking as though they were clicking back into top gear, rediscovering the dominant, ruthless form that marked their last two or three seasons by beating Crystal Palace 7-0, the Reds dropped four points to West Brom and Newcastle.
Those dropped points mean Manchester United are level on points rather than four behind. They mean Manchester City are four points back with a game in hand. They mean tonight’s opponent, Southampton, are seven back rather than 11.
Liverpool have done what they’ve had to do to stay in the race—to start 2021 just barely first in it—but to win the league they need to rediscover something of their old, consistent form. Because if they don’t, it’s likely that some other team will.
“We need to stay in the race, and that’s what we have done so far,” Robertson added. “Now we need to kick on. We need to go on a run of games where we win, and let’s see where we end up. But it’s a unique season. Hopefully we end up on top.”