Liverpool may be closing in on a return to the Champions League after their impressive win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, yet their sparkling record against the top seven teams in the Premier League suggests they should be targeting so much more heading into the final month of the season.
The results of matches contested between the top teams often tends to be a useful pointer in deciding the destiny of the Premier League title, yet that rule has been ripped up this season as Liverpool have long since given up hope of catching leaders Chelsea.
While Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are nine points behind Chelsea and have played a game more than the title favourites, a glance at their record against their chief rivals at the top of the table confirms they are in a league of their own.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their 12 games against the top seven teams in English football, with the 26-point haul they have collected from those games suggesting they have blown their chance to win a first league title since 1990.
Wins against Stoke and West Bromwich Albion in the last week has been a sign of progress for a Liverpool team that has struggled against the lower ranked sides in the Premier League, but former Liverpool captain and manager Graeme Souness told Independent.ie that Klopp still has work to do to get his side into title contention.
“The biggest frustration this season has been the way Liverpool have slipped up against the lesser teams,” Sky Sport pundit Souness told Independent.ie.
“They have done so well in the games against their top six or seven, but the defeats against Burnley, Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea have been damaging.
“So whatever happens in the final weeks of this season, Klopp needs to resolve this problem because you can’t get anywhere in the game if you can’t beat the lesser teams.
“I look at Chelsea and against the big teams, they can sit tight and find a way to win. Then against the lesser teams, they can boss them and beat them into submission.
“Liverpool have not got that kind of balance in their team and Klopp will already be thinking about how to get it.”
Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday was a fourth in games against their top seven rivals, while Tottenham’s impressive record at their White Hart Lane home sees them sitting third in this selective league table.
The sight of Arsenal down in seventh with just one win in nine-matches against their top six rivals highlights the decline in fortunes for Arsene Wenger’s side this season.
MATCHES BETWEEN THE TOP SEVEN TEAMS THIS SEASON
P W D L Pts
- Liverpool 12 7 5 0 26
- Chelsea 11 6 1 4 19
- Tottenham 10 3 4 3 13
- Man United 9 2 5 2 11
- Everton 10 2 4 4 10
- Man City 11 2 4 5 10
- Arsenal 9 1 3 5 6