Make no mistake, Tony Pulis is right – Liverpool are right in the mix.
Along with Manchester City and Arsenal, Liverpool have looked the most threatening team in the Premier League. The likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United of course cannot be discounted, but off the back of a tough run of fixtures, the Reds are joint top and bang in-form.
Having won away at Arsenal and Chelsea and drawn with Tottenham and Manchester United, Liverpool have played well in the big games, and avoided dropping points against key rivals. The only blip was Burnley; apart from that, their record as yet is impeccable.
Set-pieces are an issue defensively, but going forward, the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are more than compensating at the other end. Conceding one is not an issue as long as you score two or more at the other end, and that is what has been happening. In midfield, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson have been exceptional, too.
The strength in depth is also key. With Giorgino Wijnaldum only recently coming back from injury, Emre Can stepped in against West Brom. Daniel Sturridge, one of the most gifted players at the club – and indeed in the league – can’t get a look in. Danny Ings has not got near the squad for any league game so far.
With no European competition, the pressure is off the squad physically with fewer games to play, but there is still enough depth to compensate for injuries. Their high-tempo, all-action style of play could be difficult to maintain, but the depth in the squad means rotation is possible, and that should help to combat it.
The next eight league matches – Crystal Palace, Watford, Southampton, Sunderland, Bournemouth, West Ham, Middlesbrough and Everton – are arguably easier than the fixtures Liverpool have played so far. Win six or seven out of the eight and Liverpool could be top at Christmas for the first time since 2013.
They are by no means the favourites for the league, but they will certainly be up there come the end of the year.