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Liverpool star tries to dampen down title talk

SoccerBy Sunday World
Liverpool's Dejan Lovren outjumps Chelsea's Diego Costa to win the ball at Stamford Bridge
Liverpool's Dejan Lovren outjumps Chelsea's Diego Costa to win the ball at Stamford Bridge

Dejan Lovren insists it is too early to consider Liverpool as Premier League title contenders despite their impressive start to the season.

The Croatia defender scored his first league goal for the Reds in Friday night's 2-1 win at Chelsea, with captain Jordan Henderson thrashing home a superb second as Jurgen Klopp's side dominated the first half at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa pulled a goal back for the hosts after the interval but Liverpool saw out the remainder of the contest to record another positive result.

With work to improve Anfield running into the start of the campaign, Liverpool have played just once at home so far and have already visited Arsenal, Tottenham and now Chelsea.

A win at Arsenal on the opening day was followed up with a fighting point at Spurs, before a 4-1 thrashing of champions Leicester and then Friday's win in west London.

Only a surprise defeat at Burnley blots Liverpool's early record but Lovren believes talk of a first league title in 27 years is premature.

Asked about a potential title challenge, Lovren told the club's official website: "It's too early to talk about that but we are positive and we can keep playing well.

"We have so many players here on the bench that can make a difference, we have a brilliant squad, the 25 players here, even those in the stand are top players.

"It's a challenge for all of us to be 100 per cent in training and that's what keeps us improving every day."

Despite their tough start, Liverpool have already notched 11 goals, including four against both Arsenal and Leicester, and Lovren says the team is set-up to attack.

"We know what we need to do when we come to away games, especially against big teams like Chelsea," he added.

"We are a team who wants to play, who wants to win - we are not a team who will defend deep and await our chances.

"It's always the same speech (from Klopp), always positive. We need to keep working hard. We've had a great week in training so everyone was positive.

"Of course I'm always happy to score but I'm more happy with the performance of the team, I think we played brilliantly, especially in the first half. We controlled our football."

For Chelsea, Friday night was their first defeat under new boss Antonio Conte and follows on from a disappointing draw at Swansea last weekend.

But goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois wants to bounce back with victories against Leicester and Arsenal in the next week.

The Blues visit the King Power Stadium in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night before making the short trip to north London to take on the Gunners next Saturday in the league.

And the Belgian stopper is keen to get back to winning ways, saying: "We know how Leicester plays, it's very hard there as well.

"Those cups are important and we want to win a trophy this season. It will be a hard game and we should react after two disappointing games at Swansea and losing at home to Liverpool. The next game away at Arsenal we should try to win like last season.

"We didn't start well (against Liverpool). First half we didn't have the duels, we didn't have the second ball, everything was for them. They pressured us and we couldn't cope with it. It was very hard and we gave two goals away.

"The second half was a bit better, we scored and had some pressure but I don't think we had a big chance."