Graeme Souness feels Liverpool have a disadvantage in race for the title but they may know how to fix it.
The former Liverpool captain was speaking to the official club site on exactly what it takes to win the title. Few know better than Souness, of course.
Souness won the First Division title five times in six-and-a-half years at Liverpool, firmly establishing himself as one of the greats.
Can this current Liverpool side claim their first, though? Souness believes this is their toughest test.
Liverpool’s biggest hurdle
“It’s a group that’s not done it before,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“In many ways, getting over the line the first time is the hardest one. People say it’s hard to retain a trophy, and it is, but I think it’s harder to win it first time.
“There’ll be a period in the season when it might not go the way you want it to go and that’s when the big players step in and drag you through those moments. Liverpool have big players.”
Souness is right about the side having big players, of course. We’ve seen in recent weeks how the likes of Mo Salah and Roberto Fimino have stepped up to turn the tide in games.
They don’t have title winning experience, however. We saw in both 2009 and 2014 how naivety can cost you dearly and that and that will be a worry again. Liverpool drew 4-4 with Arsenal in 2009, all but ending their challenge.
Similarly, in 2014, a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea and a 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace dashed their hopes.
Souness feels Liverpool can win the title
But Souness believes Liverpool have the right system to challenge for the title this time.
“I’ve got a sneaky feeling Liverpool will win it this year because of the slightly pragmatic way they can play at times,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve been like that in the past; it was all about winning a game 3-0 instead of just 1-0.
“You wouldn’t want to swap their place for anyone else, you’d far prefer to be four points ahead.”
Liverpool are more professional than they have been in years. They’ve ground out results, stifled teams, and made winning routine.
Souness feels that can take Liverpool to the title – and he may well be right. Winning as a team with less reliance on big players breeds the necessary confidence.
There is no turning to Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres for magic anymore. Liverpool rely on their machine, built to pick up points however necessary.
As Souness says, that pragmatism may well be what it takes to finally deliver that title to Liverpool.