Heading into December, Liverpool still remain on course to win both the Premier League and the Champions League.
Make no mistake, this is an extraordinary achievement when you consider the number of significant setbacks Jurgen Klopp has been handed throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
The fact Liverpool sit joint-top of the Premier League and have booked their passage into the knockout stages in Europe is a scary proposition when you consider who Liverpool still have to come back in the New Year.
Here is a look at five reasons why fans should still be dreaming of a domestic and European double…
The league is wide open
This season’s title race is as wide open as the Premier League has been since Leicester City’s remarkable victory in 2016.
For the first time in over four years, there is no team that has begun the season flying out the blocks and with an early unassailable lead.
Liverpool had dropped just two points at this stage last season, while this term they have surrendered nine points from a possible 30.
Luckily for Klopp, who has been dealt more misfortune than any other manager this season, Liverpool’s rivals have all been in a free-fall of inconsistency as well.
There is no runaway leader and even in the midst of their biggest injury crisis in a generation, Liverpool are still the team to beat.
Manchester City look a shadow of the team that won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019 while Manchester United are abysmal at Old Trafford.
The Reds have fellow league leaders Tottenham coming to Anfield in just over a fortnight’s time. Winning that would see the advantage firmly back in Liverpool’s hands.
Countless stars to return
At the start of the season, many dubbed Klopp in possessing the best squad in the division and it has certainly shown this term.
Despite Liverpool currently nursing close to double digits in terms of injured first-team stars, Klopp still has an array of options to choose from.
At this time of writing, Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Rival teams will play down Liverpool’s misfortunes and try to claim the injury strain is balanced amongst the rest of the league, but there isn’t one manager who can claim he is without so many world-class options.
Alexander-Arnold and Keita are expected to be back ahead of the clash with Wolves this weekend while Shaqiri and Oxlade-Chamberlain are also close.
Thiago’s reported return is due to occur in 2021 while Van Dijk and Gomez are likely to miss the season.
Even in the absence of their first-choice central defensive pairing, come January, Liverpool should have enough quality to still remain the team to beat.
January transfer window approaching
This is going to be a marathon of a season. We are in the midst of a nine-day stretch over a 30-day period. It doesn’t slow down much after this either.
Injuries are beginning to stack up, as they will with other clubs. It will take something special to see Liverpool worse off than they currently are.
This could prompt Liverpool to consider looking into the January transfer window for sufficient reinforcements to boost their aspirations in 2021.
The likes of Dayot Upamecano, Perr Schuurs, David Alaba and Ben White have all been talked up as potential targets, but whether Liverpool choose to accelerate plans remains to be seen.
An addition or two would more than ensure Liverpool have the strength in depth to cope with the fixture list and pick up results with consistency.
Many players are yet to hit their stride
After practically no pre-season, Liverpool have taken a while to get going.
Aside from Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum, there are not too many players who you would look at and say they are hitting top form.
The best is yet to come from this Liverpool side. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all capable of better than they have displayed this season.
Jota is only getting started while Thiago has yet to really break a sweat. Keita could also still hit form if he remains injury-free.
Sooner or later all of these players will start hitting peak form and Liverpool are going to begin blowing teams away.
It feels like this team is just getting warmed up, and individually, players are only scratching the surface of what they are capable of.
Liverpool have some real leaders still to come back in the form of Thiago and Milner who have all won titles elsewhere. This will help.
The Klopp effect
It should never be under-appreciated the effect the manager is able to have on his team nor the relentless mentality Klopp has successfully installed into his players over the years.
Liverpool are renowned as ‘mentality monsters’ for a reason and it will show. Had it not been for injuries and VAR controversy, there is no doubt that the Reds could be running away with the title once again this term.
Luckily, the Reds have been locked in the midst of a title race not too long ago when Liverpool and City were fighting for the league in 2018/19.
When the pressure was on, Liverpool always found a way to win. Such experience in high-pressure stakes could prove invaluable come the business end of the season.
If Klopp and his players are in a tightly-knitted battle in the final five or six games, this experience will help. There is nothing to suggest that this team will wilt under pressure.
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