Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that it will be more difficult for the Reds to regain the Premier League title next season because of increased competition at the top of the table, although he does think his team will challenge with the return of key players from injury.
From finishing 18 points clear to be crowned champions last season with the second highest points tally of all time, Liverpool have fallen 23 points behind leaders Manchester City this time around.
The Reds have been badly affected by defensive injuries in particular, but goals are also way down than they were at the same stage of the title winning season.
Liverpool face a battle just to finish in the Premier League top four this season. But while Klopp expects the return of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson in 2021/22 to make his team challengers again, the boss is refusing to kid himself about how increasingly difficult it has become.
“It is always harder because Man City never stops. I think it is clear that they will not,” Klopp told his latest press conference, quoted by The Guardian.
“Manchester United is coming up, everyone can see that, Chelsea is in a brilliant place with a top squad. I have said it before, the squad [Thomas Tuchel] inherited is a present, so it will not get easier,” the Liverpool boss added.
“We speak only about City but there will be other teams, for sure. You have to deal with all the other teams who, even when they are outstandingly strong, you can say they are a little bit under the radar like Leicester. They have a brilliant manager and a really good squad.
“No one should write off Arsenal or Tottenham. Obviously West Ham are flying, so how can it be easier? It is not only Manchester City to worry about.”