Sunday 22 September 2019

Eamon Dunphy backs Liverpool to win the title

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admired the way his players won in difficult conditions
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admired the way his players won in difficult conditions

Tom Rooney

Such is his reverence for the methods of Jurgen Klopp, Eamon Dunphy has gone out on limb and predicted that Liverpool will finish this season as Premier League champions.

Since Klopp took over from Brendan Rogers last month following the drawn Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, Liverpool have lost just once in 10 games. They have also recorded impressive wins over champions Chelsea and league leaders Manchester City.

Following the weekend’s 1-0 win over Swansea, Liverpool are in sixth spot, just six points off City and Leicester, with their next league tie against a hapless Newcastle side at Anfield next Sunday.

Dunphy, seemingly unmoved by any other outfit in the top half of the table, believes the resurgent Reds are more than just dark horses in the title race and, providing they do some good business in January, are better equipped for the second half of the campaign than their nearest rivals.

“I think Liverpool have a great chance," he told Damian O’Meara on 2fm’s Game On. “If they get two players in the transfer window, if he (Klopp) gets a couple of the lads who are injured back into the side and Sturridge gets fit.

“Liverpool are six points behind and if I look at the five teams ahead of them. Leicester; no chance, Arsenal; zero chance, Tottenham; no chance - that leaves the two Manchester clubs

“City were lucky in a way to beat Southampton. Southampton played really well and they had chance to equalise, and in the end City won 3-1. United may well win the league but it would be the death of football,” he said.

He went on to laud the impact the charismatic German coach has had during his brief spell at Anfield, while pointing out that Liverpool’s favourable fixture list in the new year as another boon.

“Someone will go on a run, and I think Liverpool have every chance. They need to support him (Klopp) and he started off with all the odds against him. They’ve had all the big teams away from home; they have them all to come to Anfield.

“Coutinho didn’t play yesterday, they can get Sturridge and Benteke firing, and they have Jordan Henderson coming back, although if that’s a good thing I’m not sure. This guy has got something going. Six points is nothing. They’re certainties for the Champions League spot and I think they might win the league.”

Not for the first time the pundit found himself at odds with the opines of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who said his side were the best they’ve been all season in the aftermath of their stalemate with Spurs on Sunday.

When asked if the result would prove a catalyst for better things at Stamford Bridge, Dunphy gave a characteristically curt response, and was far from complimentary of the struggling Cesc Fabregas.

“No. Tottenham are pretty ordinary anyway, and people have been hyping them up. Chelsea were ordinary and it was a poor match. I would say Fabregas’ performances for a long time now- for most of this year in fact- have been poor. It looks like he’s been burnt out; he has nothing to offer.

“There’s no way Chelsea are going anywhere and there’s no way Tottenham are going anywhere either," he said.

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