Andy Robertson admits Liverpool are facing a “unique” season in which to defend their title, and predicted they will not need nearly as many points to claim it again this time round.
The Reds are still top of the table after 16 games played despite drawing each of their last two fixtures against West Brom and Newcastle respectively.
Those results have allowed the chasing pack to gain ground, with Man Utd now level on points, while Man City have also closed the gap.
And Robertson conceded Liverpool are perhaps lacking the same killer instinct which saw them pull away from the other sides in the last campaign.
Speaking to Sky Sports , he said: “Over the last two years or even three years – and no disrespect to those clubs – but last season we would have won those games.
“If you add two points to every one of those games then the league table is looking a lot different and we’re sitting pretty happy, but you know, this season is going to be unique.
“I think there are seven or eight teams – once the games in hand have been played that are within three points of us at the top.
“I think I can comfortably say it’s not going to be 97 or 98 points that is going to win the league this season, it’s probably going to be in the 80s because it is that tight and everyone is taking points off each other.
“We need to stay in the race, and that’s what we have done so far.”
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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The fact Liverpool are leading the race is a testament to their strong title credentials, given the ongoing and troublesome injury crisis they have endured in the opening months.
With so many key players struggling with various injury problems, Jurgen Klopp has been forced to utilise his full squad and rely on his fringe players and youngsters.
His side’s form on the road will no doubt be a concern going into Monday’s clash at Southampton.
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Liverpool have won just one of their last seven away league fixtures, while the Saints have enjoyed a decent start to the campaign.
Robertson said: “It’s just now we need to kick on in 2021. We need to go on a run of games where we win.
“We of course need to pick up more away points and keep picking up maximum points at home, and let’s see where we end up.
“It’s a unique season. Hopefully we end up on top.”