Why Liverpool Are Only Now Facing the Biggest Challenge in Their Quest for a Premier League Title

​There's no escaping the fact that this Liverpool team are seriously good. Preternaturally, head-achingly, oh-my-god-they-might-actually-never-lose-a-game-again good. 

They're so good that to put anything close to a negative spin on their season so far would be unthinkably stupid. They claimed two more trophies before the turn of the year, won their ​Champions League group at a mild sprint, and, most crucially, have taken 19 victories from 20 league games - putting them on the precipice of the single best-ever start to a top-flight season in English football history.

Let's face it; they're probably going to win the ​Premier League

Mohamed Salah,Sadio Mane

However, that is by no means cause for them to take the rest of the league season for granted. 

The players know this, of course they do. You don't keep up their ridiculous level of performance and rack up the unthinkable tally of points they have without a single-minded determination to treat every game as its own animal. If they had taken their eye off the ball for a second, or allowed even a suggestion of complacency seep in, then we'd be looking at a wildly different title race to the one we have before us. 

The players need no reminder of the task that lies ahead, and it's just that fact that makes them overwhelming favourites to lean on the cushion they have and win a first league title in 30 years.


It's not the players, then, nor the management that need a reminder that the hard part of the season lies ahead; it's the rest of us. 

It's fair to say, ​Liverpool's advantage being what it is now - 13 points with a game in hand - that we've all got a bit carried away at one point or another. We're looking to the end of the season; we're appraising Leicester and Manchester City's chances of picking up five more wins than Liverpool, deeming them non-existent, and writing the title race off. 

As the Reds look ahead to their next three games, however - Tottenham away (11/1), Manchester United home (19/1) and Wolves away (23/1) within 12 days of each other - it's easy to overlook just how different the table could look come the end of January, forget the end of May. 

Despite how it seems in the immediacy, Liverpool are going to lose in the Premier League at some stage. In all likelihood, that's going to happen this season, and playing the odds, it's not even particularly unlikely to happen in the next three games. They're human beings, and as good as they are - as unbelievably good as they are - it's not fair, nor is it plausible, to expect them to remain invincible. 

Taking all that into account, it's not ridiculous, considering what we know the opposition are capable of, to imagine the current lead being near-halved by the end of the month. 

If that were to happen, you can only imagine the shift in perception, and the pressure that would be firmly loaded onto the players' shoulders for the remainder of the campaign.

Jordan Henderson

And that's why the upcoming triple-header is not only the biggest task yet in the incumbent title race, but perhaps the most substantial they have faced as a group.

I can hear the scoffing already; yes, returning from the dead to conquer Barcelona was unimaginably massive. But regardless of all the revisionist history that has since been written about how those at Anfield that night 'sensed' something was going to happen, let's be real - no-one really expected Liverpool to make the final with 90 minutes remaining of that semi-final tie. The pressure was off, the gauntlet was laid, and minus two crucially important players, they achieved something remarkable. 

But, in the bitter North London cold tomorrow afternoon, ask Divock Origi, Gini Wijnaldum, Virgil van Dijk or any of the Liverpool players who played their part that night. They would each tell you that three wins from their next three matches would match that epoch-making feat, if not surpass it. 

Hell, if you offered them two, they would bite off not only your hand, but your entire limb just to be safe. 


If Liverpool come through this run of three games - and their fixture in hand with West Ham which lies in wait just six days removed - with their current lead intact, or even largely undented, then we can probably start preparing the victory parade. 

But before we can afford to take stock and even begin to consider that, there is much left to do, and plenty of points to fight for.

Such has been Liverpool's so-far unyielding dominance and the perceived foregone conclusion that they will win every single game, that few have looked at the weeks ahead as defining in their race to finally win a Premier League title. 

There is a nail left to drive into the relentless coffin of Manchester City yet, however. Liverpool are more than capable of the task - but make no mistake, it will take another almighty swing of the hammer. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

Source : 90min