Jurgen Klopp defended Chelsea this week as he discussed the upcoming Premier League title race. The Liverpool boss won’t write off the Blues.
The Premier League title race came down to a single point last season. It was almost even closer than that, in fact, as Liverpool and Manchester City both sought victories on the final day. There was a period where it may have come down to goal difference.
Of course, this isn’t new. Liverpool and City have been the runaway title contenders for the last few years, with either one or both utterly dominating the rest of the competition. It’s very easy, then, to see it happening again.
Jurgen Klopp doesn’t, however. He thinks it would be silly to assume that the upcoming 2022/23 season will be a Liverpool vs City repeat.
“We are not that far ahead,” Klopp told ESPN. “That’s always a misunderstanding of the points tally of last season.
“We played Chelsea – I don’t know how many points more we had, I really don’t – but we played them four times and we didn’t win one game against them.
“It’s not because we are bad that day — no, we were really good in those games — but over 90 minutes each time, before the penalties [in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals], we never won, so Chelsea are incredibly strong.”
Chelsea in the Premier League title race
It’s not exactly a shock that Klopp downplays Liverpool’s chances and the idea that they’re a dominant side. That’s typically how he does things – there’s a constant belief that the Reds’ runaway seasons are an illusion.
It’s worth mentioning that Klopp goes on to say that Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United are threats, too. The boss certainly doesn’t see next season as a formality and it’s Chelsea that worry him the most.
The fact that Liverpool struggled to face Chelsea, though, is a little irrelevant. A league is won by consistency over the entire season against every team, after all. That’s what both the Reds and City have that everyone else lacks – even if the other teams are good enough to beat anyone on their day.
We also think the jury is a little out on the Blues right now after some big changes this summer. Their defence will look very different, while they’ve gone back on their Romelu Lukaku plan already. So we’ll have to wait and see what they produce.
But at the end of the day, Klopp is right, of course. Liverpool can’t assume they’ll pull away from the rest until they have done and right now, there are some very strong teams in this league.
We still expect it to come down to Liverpool vs City but until then, the likes of Chelsea are a major threat.