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A record-breaking start for second-place? Fate’s latest cruel joke at Liverpool’s expense

Jurgen Klopp's men would normally be top by a distance... but there's nothing normal about Man City these days

Liverpool fans may feel fate has conspired against them during the Premier League era.

The Reds have won everything else on offer since 1992, including the Champions League, but a league crown has alluded them in a number of cruel ways.

Steven Gerrard’s slip is the most infamous example, though many would argue the 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park was a more decisive blow.


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This season, the football gods’ seemingly have another plan to make them suffer…

Is it their year for real this time?

AP:Associated Press
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Is it their year for real this time?

With 39 points from their opening 15 games and their undefeated status still in tact, this is the best start to a domestic league season in Liverpool’s 126-year history.

Only six English top flight teams have ever had more points at the same stage of the season.

And yet, they occupy second place.

Such is the imperious nature of Pep Guardiola’s Man City machine.

Spoil sports

AP:Associated Press
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Spoil sports

The Reds have scrapped admirably in recent weeks.

They came from behind to beat Burnley, scored a (freakish) 96th-minute winner against Everton, and have got over the line in games without reaching top gear.

It is often said that winning games in which you are below par is a sign of champions.

Liverpool have hung onto Man City’s coattails during a period in which Guardiola’s side have overrun and outclassed their opponents.

Few would argue against City’s status as comfortably the best team in the league right now.

All things considered, a two-point deficit won’t concern Jurgen Klopp too much.

Blow for blow

Reuters
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Blow for blow

Inevitably, City will face a lean run in which results will be more difficult to come by.

And Liverpool will probably blow away consecutive opponents; their front three haven’t clicked in every game but they’re still irresistible on their day.

Forgive the Brendan Rodgers-ism, but wins against Everton and Burnley have proved Klopp’s side’s character.

Previous Liverpool title-contenders may have played glorious football, but they were found wanting in key moments.

Rival fans still point to Klopp’s record in finals as evidence that Liverpool are not yet the finished product — Real Madrid’s triumph in Kiev was a particularly painful near-miss for the Anfield faithful.

An untimely reminder…

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An untimely reminder…

Fate’s latest attempt to deny Liverpool a Premier League crown pits them against perhaps the best team in Premier League history.

City’s centurions are averaging three goals every league game with the supply coming from all over the pitch.

Aymeric Laporte has improved their defence while, after a shaky start, Riyad Mahrez has blossomed under Guardiola’s tutelage.

The most worrying aspect for Liverpool and City’s rivals is that Kevin De Bruyne has hardly featured through injury.

More to come?

Getty - Contributor
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More to come?

In a not-to-dissimilar parallel universe, Liverpool have a six-point lead and are overwhelming favourites to break the hoodoo.

As it is, they will have overhaul Pep’s ever-improving record-breakers.

Tough, but they couldn’t help for a more rewarding victory were they to pull it off.

Are they equipped to do so?

Many of Liverpool’s title charges have come undone in defence.

But a first-choice quartet of Alexander-Arnold/Gomez/Van Dijk/Robertson in front of Alisson appears capable of the challenge.

Liverpool have conceded just six goals in the league — the best record of all 20 teams.

Player of the Year contender

Getty - Contributor
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Player of the Year contender

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane proved last season they have enough firepower to trouble any defence.

Question marks remain in midfield as Klopp continues to search for the right balance.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita and Adam Lallana are all fighting it out for places in a three-man dynamic.

Liverpool are hardly shy in resource, but exploring all options fully takes time, something rarely afforded in hyperbolic modern football.

Keita could be a difference-maker once he settles

PA:Press Association
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Keita could be a difference-maker once he settles

Depending on Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal’s form, we could witness the most dominant two-horse title race in Premier League history.

Fine margins make for great drama.

Liverpool will be happy to keep pace for now, but at some point they will need to dig deeper and set it.

Over to you, Herr Klopp.


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