COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Liverpool are in pole position to be on top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day.
The Reds have six league games before then and Jurgen Klopp’s side will hope to extend their lead at the top of table with a run of decent fixtures.
The Merseyside club are currently one point above second-placed Chelsea and will be looking for a big points return in their next six games.
Liverpool face an away match against Southampton on Saturday and then host the league’s bottom club Sunderland at Anfield in November.
They then face trips to Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Merseyside rivals Everton, as well as a home match against West Ham before Christmas Day.
Six of the last seven teams who were top of the Premier league at Christmas have gone on to lift the trophy.
Ironically, only Liverpool have bucked the trend in the 2013/2014 season, after Man City pipped them to the title with some assistance from a Steven Gerrard slip.
Liverpool were top at Christmas, but Man City moved from third to first to take the title from the Reds by two points.
In fact Liverpool are the prime Christmas chokers. Rafa Benitez’s side threw away a Christmas lead in 2008 and Roy Evans’ side did the same in 1996.
The Merseyside club appear well set up to mount a serious title challenge this campaign though and are the league’s top scorers with 30 goals in 11 games.
German manager Klopp has built a side that match his attacking philosophy, with the attacking trio of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane thriving as forwards.
They have already defeated title contenders Chelsea and Arsenal in the league, while drawing matches with Manchester United and Tottenham.
Liverpool’s only league defeat this season was a shock 2-0 loss to Burnley and they will be keen to avoid any similar upsets.
The Reds could, if anything, stretch their lead at the top in the next few matches, but will be wary of playing teams they are expected to beat.
Liverpool’s major title contenders all face each other in the coming weeks as Chelsea face both Spurs and Man City before Christmas, while Man United host Arsenal this Saturday.