Gary Neville has named one crucial ‘factor’ which he thinks could potentially keep Liverpool in the Premier League title race for most of the season.
A dramatic 4-3 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday kept the Reds within two points of leaders Arsenal and one ahead of Manchester City, who drew for a third successive top-flight game in a six-goal thriller at home to Tottenham.
In his eponymous podcast following the latter fixture, the Sky Sports pundit was asked by commentary colleague Peter Drury if he felt the Reds have the ‘wherewithal’ to go toe-to-tie with last season’s top two.
Neville wasn’t entirely convinced about our title prospects, but thinks that having a ‘proven’ winner in Jurgen Klopp could be our biggest asset.
He said: “Liverpool I’m not sure about, but then they’ve got Klopp, so I think that’s a factor because he can win and he’s proven he can win.
“Arsenal have still got to demonstrate in a run-in – and they’ve got to get to that run-in first – but they look like they’re on track to be in a run-in again. I’m more confident that this year they’ll handle a run-in than they did last year, because last year there’s no doubt they went under. They didn’t have enough.”
Neville added: “What I would want to see is Arsenal and City in a run-in again. If Liverpool are there as well it becomes a three-horse race, great, but usually in the last five or six games, it becomes two.”
Klopp’s experience of going the distance in title races against Man City could prove pivotal if the Reds find themselves in that situation again during the spring.
While Liverpool have twice taken Pep Guardiola’s side to the final day in the previous five campaigns, along with romping to the trophy in 2020, Arsenal fell away badly in the closing weeks of last term, so their physical and mental stamina to take it to the wire remains the biggest unknown among Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Any of those three teams could experience a drastic swing in form, for better or worse, in the coming months, but right now it looks as if they’re all capable of being genuine title contenders come the business end of the season.
You can see Neville’s comments below (from 9:24), via Sky Sports Premier League on YouTube: