Liverpool have greater strength in depth this season and that will help them avoid the dreaded drop-off in form in the New Year, according to ex-Red Ray Houghton.
Jurgen Klopp’s side head into tomorrow’s clash with in-form Arsenal looking to preserve their unbeaten start to the Premier League season following eight wins from a possible 10.
The arrival of several key players including goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Naby Keita have helped Klopp’s side earn the credible tag of title contenders as they look to win the league for the first time since 1990.
And Houghton, who made over 200 appearances for Liverpool between 1987 and 1992, feels they learnt the harsh lessons from May’s Champions League final defeat where a lack of options hindered their comeback efforts.
“I think they’ve got a better depth to the squad. Last season losing in the Champions League final was a wake-up call for the manager because when he looked at his bench that night he had Emre Can who he brought on, Adam Lallana who was not fit and he also had the young lad Dominic Solanke,” Houghton told Ian Stone’s Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am).
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“That was it. That was how he was going to change it against Real Madrid and I think he realised he needed something different.”
Today's trip to the Emirates will be the latest examination of their title credentials following earlier draws against the other pace-setters Manchester City and Chelsea.
While Klopp’s side have earned no shortage of plaudits for their expansive attacking play, Houghton was keen to praise the defensive improvements that have made them a much more formidable outfit.
Six clean sheets in their opening 10 league matches would attest to that and Houghton insists the Anfield club have what it takes to go all the way providing they address questions about a lack of title-winning experience.
“Look at Liverpool defensively this season, they’ve been excellent. They have got the tools to do it, I think they’ve got the personnel to do it, it’s just whether they’ve got the experience because a lot of these lads haven’t won the league before,” Houghton added.
“It’s difficult to get over the line when you’re up against team like against Man City who have been there, seen it and done it.”
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