Liverpool look like champions in waiting, says Simon Mullock
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 30/12/18 7:28pm
Liverpool opened up a nine-point advantage with victory over Arsenal, and the Sunday Supplement discussed the make-up of the Premier League leaders.
Jurgen Klopp's unbeaten side moved onto 54 points by thrashing the Gunners 5-1 at Anfield. They have only failed to beat Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, who can close the gap to seven points if they beat Southampton at St Mary's, live on Super Sunday.
The Sunday Supplement panel reflected on Liverpool's latest impressive display against Unai Emery's side, and pinpointed how Klopp has moulded a side capable of winning the title.
Simon Mullock - Chief football writer, The Sunday Mirror
5-1 flattered Arsenal. Liverpool were full of energy, full of invention. They've got such momentum behind them now that it looks like it's going to be very difficult for anyone to stop them.
The way Liverpool are playing at the minute reminds me of Man City last season when they got that big advantage at the top.
You can see the belief flowing through the players that they're invincible. It was a fantastic performance.
Jurgen Klopp insisted they were taking nothing for granted, but I really think if they go to the Etihad on Thursday night and win, then I just can't see how they're not going to end up as Premier League champions this season.
Last season they would swamp teams from the beginning, but there were times when the opposition had control of the game and Liverpool looked in difficulty. This season, Klopp has adapted that style a little bit. Yes, they still press and are full of energy, but they've got control of games now.
They're not just lethal going forward, they're great at the back. You just have to look at the defensive record they've got. I've been told it's the best they've had since the late 1970s, which is just incredible when you think of the team Liverpool had back then, and it's just the control in games they have.
Virgil van Dijk has been a colossus, and the goalkeeper has been a huge addition to the team this season. With the momentum they've got, they just look like champions in waiting.
Raphael Honigstein - Author of 'Klopp: Bring the Noise'
If you put these guys in yellow shirts, you could mistake them for the Dortmund side (which won the Bundesliga under Klopp in 2011 and 2012).
They have different types of players when you compare Salah and Mane with Lewandowski up front - but the combination of the collective desire to work for each other, and even when things are a little wild like yesterday, there is a sense that they are still in control because of the individual quality that they have now at the back.
A lot of teams, when they're faced with the pressing that Liverpool do, go long and try to play through that and expose the back four, but now you sense they're happy with long balls as Van Dijk is so strong while Alisson has brought them calmness.
There's a belief, not only in Liverpool, but in the opposition that they can't beat this side, or at least it's going to be really, really tough. That in itself is worth a few points - that kind of aura. That sense of 'we are the team to beat'.
The longer they go unbeaten, the more it's going to increase the trepidation of teams going to Anfield.
Martin Samuel - Chief sports writer, The Daily Mail
If you go through Liverpool's results last year, you see the times they lost at Swansea, they drew at Burnley, and you wondered at the start of this season if Liverpool are capable of winning those games. So you then turn those results into wins, defeats into draws.
Then you think they beat City home and away last season, so it showed you don't have to be neck and neck with City. They just need to be within five points of them when they go head to head. But you look at all the dopey points they dropped last year, this was always going to be a year they could do it.
The potential to do it was always there because last season there were too many daft results. They've knocked that out because they've bought Van Dijk and a good goalkeeper. They're the best team when things get loose and it's anyone's. I don't think there's a better team in Europe in those circumstances.
They've had to get used to Klopp and I think they didn't have the personnel to follow things through in the first two years. Now they do.