Jurgen Klopp names how many teams rival Liverpool in Premier League title race
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Jurgen Klopp has given his verdict on how many teams are in the Premier League title race as Liverpool prepare to face leaders Leicester on Sunday.
In a campaign shortened by four weeks because of the pandemic, this season's battle to be the top team in England promises to be the most open for some years.
Liverpool, so dominant on their way to a 20th top-flight crown last season, have already dropped seven points from their opening eight games – which included a remarkable 7-2 drubbing by surprise package Aston Villa.
Previous champions Manchester City are off the pace already after winning just three of their seven games so far.
And neighbours Manchester United are enduring an even worse start, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side having lost three league games already – all of them at Old Trafford.
Jurgen Klop demonstrates how wide open the title race is this season
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
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The lead at the top has changed hands numerous times already, with Southampton, Tottenham, Leicester and Everton all having been at the summit this season.
It is the Foxes who are currently leading the way going into Sunday's clash at Anfield.
However, third-placed Liverpool can go top if they beat Brendan Rodgers' side – depending on the result of Tottenham's home game against City the day before.
Klopp was asked by former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp how many teams he believes are in this year's title.
Klopp this weekend faces his predecessor at Liverpool, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
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"Eight," said the Reds manager, speaking to Redknapp in an interview for the Daily Mail.
The 53-year-old did not name the clubs he thinks are in with a shout.
However Sunday's opponents Leicester will no doubt be one of them after winning six of their opening eight games – more than any other team.
As well as his own team, it can reasonably assumed that Klopp counts the rest of the 'Big Six' among the contenders – despite the fact that City, Arsenal and United are currently in 10th, 11th and 14th places respectively.
Klopp was asked by Jamie Redknapp how a repeat title triumph would compare to last season
(Image: Newcastle United via Getty Image)
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Tottenham are second – level on points with Liverpool and one behind Leicester – while Chelsea, the remaining Bix Six side, are in fifth place, three points off the top.
That gives us seven contenders – and in a topsy-turvy season it is open to conjecture who the eighth could be.
While Everton won their first four games to set the early pace, their winning run was ended by last month's Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool, and Carlo Ancelotti's side have lost three in a row since.
Another leftfield shout could be Villa, who are riding the wave of Jack Grealish's excellent form and can count not only Liverpool but also Arsenal and Leicester among their conquests this season.
Aston Villa are benefiting from the form of Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley
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Whoever he believes to be the contenders, Klopp welcomes the prospect of a more open title race this season.
Redknapp put it to Klopp that 85 points could be enough to win the league this season, after the last three champions rewrote the record books with 100, 98 and 99 points respectively.
"Sorry to say this but I couldn’t care less in this moment, Jamie," said the Liverpool manager, who is grappling with the worst injury crisis of his reign ahead of Sunday's game.
"It doesn’t look like somebody will get 100 or whatever. In this season? Four weeks shorter? Same amount of games? I don’t think it’s possible. Even 87 looks far away."
The Liverpool boss has been dealing with an injury crisis ahead of Sunday's game
(Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
However, Klopp said if his injury-ravaged team were to retain their title, it would be an even greater achievement than last season's relentless rampage to glory.
"If we were to win it this year it would be a big achievement to be honest," he said. "Maybe a bigger one.
"That’s what I love about the Premier League – there are so many contenders. Our start was not so bad.
And he sent a warning to Leicester that his side have learned from their surprise 7-2 defeat to Villa.
Klopp said: "Yes, we had a special game against Aston Villa – maybe we needed that. We’ve used it.
"Leicester on Sunday. Let’s see."
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