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Are Liverpool the Dark Horses for This Season's Premier League Title?

27/11/2015 17:47 GMT | Updated 27/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Say what you will about the quality of Premier League clubs on the European stage, but you can't argue with our league's excitement. One of its biggest charms has always been its unpredictability, and after this weekend's set of results it's clear that's still the case.

Not one of us would have predicted Leicester City would be the top team in the country at this stage of the season - especially considering they were rock bottom of the division just a year ago - and who would have expected champions Chelsea to crash as hard as they have done in the opening months of this campaign?

Though looking to Liverpool's trip to former leaders Manchester City back last week, few would have predicted such an imbalance in the result. Especially in favour of the visitors.

City are English football's newest superpower. They're blessed with a squad superior to most other teams in the land, while Liverpool are the country's modern underachievers. The Reds are steeped in history and distant successes, but it's been over 25 years since their last English league title. They've never won the Premier League, as if you didn't already know.

There's a hope on Merseyside that new manager Jurgen Klopp could be the man to change all that. He's confident of it himself; as he declared at his unveiling eight weeks ago that he expected to bring home the title over the course of his four-year deal with the Anfield club.

Liverpool managers have harboured the same hopes before Klopp's time. Some have come close, but the wait continues. Liverpool's performance at the Etihad however will do nothing to dampen down the expectation on the shoulders of the former Borussia Dortmund tactician.

In the space of that eight weeks, he's managed to transform a side meandering under former boss Brendan Rodgers into one of the most highly charged, breathless and exciting outfits in the country. And this with a team no different - personnel-wise - to the team Rodgers built (or had built for him) at the start of the year.

The difference is stark. But Klopp's wish to become involved in a title challenge in the future may happen sooner than he's expecting if Liverpool continue as they are. They've torn Chelsea and Manchester City to shreds in their own back yards and they've travelled to the grounds of each of last season's top five - as well as local rivals Everton - in their opening 13 games.

Their fixture list is far kinder than most teams ahead of them. And on the weekend's evidence you get the sense that their in-your-face style of play will be too much for a large chunk of the teams in the league to tolerate.

It's achieving a degree of consistency that will be key to Liverpool's season though - and if they can manage it, they might not be too far off the top of the table at the end of the year.

Appreciated, they are eight points away from the top as it stands. However, few expect Leicester to stick around and there's still 75 points to play for over the course of this season. We're only a third of the way in.

Expected title challengers Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal are seven, six and six points respectively ahead of Klopp's side. But Klopp's Liverpool have shown they can more than hold their own in the biggest matches, and they'll now be measured on whether they can maintain their level in games where they are considered favourites.

It'll be tough, and Liverpool supporters should be reminded not to get carried away with performances like this one. A draining Europa League campaign, style of play that requires high energy and a mounting injury list could end up proving to their detriment, but Klopp may be given the opportunity to spend in his first transfer window in January.

The inconsistencies of the teams above them, however, make this season's title race as open as it has ever been. He may not have the squad he wants just yet, but what Klopp does have is an enthusiasm that rubs off on his players and high levels of expectation.

Liverpool can't be at their best every single week. But we've seen what their best is - and who knows, there could even be more to come - and it puts them at least on par with the country's top teams on their day.

If a consistent level of performance can be found over the next two thirds of the season, Liverpool may go closer to the title than a lot of people think. Dark horses? Maybe...

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