John Aldridge: Klopp's Liverpool look awesome but too early for Premier League title talk

SoccerBy John Aldridge
Liverpool's goalscorers celebrate Henderson's stunning strike against Chelsea
Liverpool's goalscorers celebrate Henderson's stunning strike against Chelsea

So many boxes are being ticked by Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team right now, that's clear for all to see.

But let's not get carried away despite such an encouraging start to the season.

Friday night's outstanding win against Chelsea was the latest piece of evidence to suggest that Klopp is getting things right at Liverpool.

His team battered Chelsea for long periods at Stamford Bridge and in the end the winning margin should have been wider than 2-1.

It was clear from the off that Chel­sea manager Antonio Conte and his team showed Liverpool far too much respect, as they sat back and played into the hands of their opponents as a result.

It was a wonderful night for Liverpool and, when you hear the radio phone-ins after the game, the supporters are getting very excited after big wins against Arsenal, Leices­ter and Chelsea - but I would prefer to reserve judgement for now.

The 2-0 defeat at Burnley last month was a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done before we can start putting Liverpool into the mix as title contenders.

Don't forget, we saw big victories against the top sides on a few occa­sions last season, backed up by dis­asters like the 3-0 defeat at Watford last December, which was a low point in Klopp's reign as Liverpool boss.

Hull and Swansea are next on the agenda for Liverpool before a little game against Manchester United - these up­coming games will be the real big tests for Klopp's side.

Hull and Swansea will do all they can to stop Liverpool playing their slick, passing football and, as Burn­ley showed, Klopp's side can come up short when they are up against negative opponents.

Can Liverpool roll their sleeves up when things are going against them and fight their way out of a corner?

Does this Klopp team have a back­bone? Will it allow them to overcome opponents that are intent on merely stifling play?

What we need to see now is a Liv­erpool outfit that can mix it with the top sides in the Premier League and can also see off the lesser teams with the authority of a side with title credentials.

What is clear is that this Liverpool team has moved up a couple of gears compared to the side of last season.

Klopp has had time to get his players into this team. They are all working to his agenda now.

It means that the likes of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson - who have come in for criticism in the last couple of years - are starting to rise to the fore.

Henderson was so desperate to impress when he took over from Steven Gerrard as Liverpool captain last season, and maybe he was trying too hard to make his mark.

Injuries didn't help his cause ei­ther, but the abuse that flowed his way from Liverpool fans was not justified in my eyes.

As for Lallana, regular readers of my Sunday World column will know that I was not his biggest fan during his first two years at Liverpool, but he is coming good now.

I still don't think a player who costs as much as he did should take so long to get into his stride but Lallana has been revived under Klopp's watch and he is a key part of the Liverpool midfield now.

Meanwhile, new arrival Joel Matip is highly impressive at the heart of the defence, with his height giving Liverpool a presence in the air that has been lacking in recent years.

We need to see Liverpool keeping a few more clean sheets because the best teams do not have lapses in concentration that allow opponents to get back into the game.

Yet there is an arrogance that can come with confidence, and wins of the nature we witnessed at Chelsea can fuel that belief.

I also like the look of the options Klopp has on the bench, with players available that can change a game when legs are tiring late on.

We are not relying on Daniel Stur­ridge to pop up with a wonder-goal to win games any more and every team in the Premier League will know that when Liverpool click into top gear they are tough to stop.

The presence of Klopp on the touchline also fills you with confi­dence for a variety of reasons.

I love his passion as he lives through every moment and celebrates each goal with such enthusiasm.

That overflowing excitement is what you want to see as supporters and it is not just for show with this German.

Klopp has bought into everything that goes with the Liverpool job and that has ensured that everyone at the club is right behind him now.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this team can go and by the half-way stage in this season we will have a better understanding of whether a title challenge is realistic.

From what we have seen so far, Manchester City appear to be the team to beat in the Premier League and I have to say I'm amazed by how quickly Pep Guardiola has got his team moving forward.

We all suspected it would take time for Jose Mourinho to make his mark at Man Utd and for Conte to get his ideas in place at Chelsea.

Well, from what we have seen in recent days, those two high-profile man­agers have a big task on their hands to live up to the massive expectations they have taken on this season.

The one shining brightest among these 'celebrity' managers right now, aside from Klopp, is Guardiola.

The Spaniard's football philos­ophy is not the easiest for some players to get a grip of but he has got City playing some great stuff already.

If City are the best team we have seen in the Premier League so far, then I'm sure most will agree that Liverpool are not far behind them.