Early season form proves Liverpool are title challengers

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Liverpool made a strong statement in their bid to win the Premier League for the first time by defeating Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. Jurgen Klopp’s men took the lead through Dejan Lovren in the 17th minute before Jordan Henderson doubled their advantage before the break with a stunning strike from distance.

Chelsea were given hope of a late comeback when Diego Costa found the net, but the Reds held out for the win at Stamford Bridge, inflicting a first defeat in England on Antonio Conte. The result lifted Liverpool level on points with the Blues, although the club remain five points behind early pacesetters Manchester City due to their comfortable victory over Bournemouth.

The Reds will be determined to maintain their level of form against the leading teams in the division, and that could help a surge towards the top-flight crown. Klopp’s men are backed at 6/1 in the latest Bet365 Premier League betting odds to lift the trophy in May.

Liverpool have started to show signs that they are developing under the German’s tenure, with their ability to close out big matches. After a strong summer of spending in the transfer market Klopp has a team which is capable of putting in energetic performances on a weekly basis, aided by the fact they are not competing on the continent this season.

Sadio Mane has begun the campaign in great form, notching two goals and an assist in his four appearances. The 24-year-old was extremely impressive in his side’s 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening weekend, firing in an incredible left-footed strike following a weaving run through the Gunners’ backline. He has offered pace on the break to open up opposing defences, especially in the second half which has eased pressure on the Liverpool defence. Should he maintain the level of his early displays he could be a candidate for signing of the season.

There appears to be enough goals in the team due to the talent of the Reds’ midfield, which offers support to Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi leading the line. Between Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Mane, supplying and scoring should not be an issue in pursuit of the Premier League crown.

Problems could emerge defensively, especially due to the way Liverpool play by committing men forward to press the opposition. It does leave their defence exposed should teams get around the first wave of pressure. The Reds have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season, a run that includes their shock 2-0 loss to Burnley at Turf Moor in August.

Those are the results that can cost you the crown as the club found out in the 2013/14 season. One of Klopp’s major challenges this time will be to ensure that his team become a solid unit at the back, which will also ease the pressure on their attacking players to fire in front of goal.

This Liverpool team is exciting to watch and it will be interesting to see whether they can sustain their early season form against the better teams of the division in the crunch time of the campaign.  However, on their basis of their displays there should be no reason why they can’t mount a serious challenge for the trophy in May.

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