By Dave Davis
“The reality is we have nothing at the moment. We want to continue to do well and there’s still plenty of room for improvement. It’s far too early [to look at the table]. We’re almost in October and the busy period will come. There are still so many games left and the only thing we focus on is the game ahead of us.”
Virgil van Dijk is fully aware that Liverpool have made a great start, but nothing more than that. Saturday’s victory over Sheffield United demonstrated the Reds can dig in when needed to. However, if they still have the same type of lead after their next five league fixtures then it may be worth a glance.
The next five fixtures look as tough as any on paper — Leicester City (H), Manchester United (A), Tottenham Hotspur (H), Aston Villa (A) and Manchester City (H). On the face of it there is little to fear from any of those opposing teams, but you won’t find many betting on a 100% record still being in place come mid-November.
Leicester are one of the form teams in the division, and a return to Anfield for former manager Brendan Rodgers adds a little extra spice. The Northern Irishman will be desperate to get one of his former employees and, with the likes of James Maddison and Jamie Vardy in form, he will fancy his chances.
A 1-1 draw at Anfield last season put a dent in the Reds’ title charge and they’ll be no doubt looking to do the same on Saturday. Three points is more than doable for the home side, but it’s unlikely to be an easy task against the Foxes.
United away hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for sometime and last season’s 0-0 draw has to go down as one of the worst games for some time. Against an opposition that were out of form, plagued with injuries and unable to keep 11 fit players on the pitch, Liverpool had no real excuse for not taking maximum points.
All Kopites would love to add to the misery at Old Trafford and — on paper — this should be expected. History tells a different story though and a burying of the hoodoo, however it comes, would certainly be welcomed.
A double over Spurs wasn’t easily secured last season and a late Tony Alderweireld own-goal seemed harsh on the visitors. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are struggling for form at the moment, but still have danger-men in the final third.
Three points here and away at Villa Park would be expected, but again don’t appear easy. The Midlanders can’t keep the ball out of their net at the moment and, with new players still bedding in, they appear appear to be the easiest of Liverpool’s fixtures in this period.
The final one of the six is easily the toughest, although it’s one many Reds believe Jürgen Klopp and his men should now win. Aymeric Laporte’s injury has left City vulnerable at the back and even Everton gave them real problems last weekend.
In what will be billed by many as the first installment of a 180-minute title decider, Liverpool should be looking for maximum points. Manchester City will never be an easy opponent, though.
None of Liverpool’s next five look easy on paper either. Someone maybe should have waited before asking Virgil.