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Saturday 23 September 2017

Key January buys will prove Klopp's ambition

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard celebrates with teammates after scoring his side’s second goal against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard celebrates with teammates after scoring his side’s second goal against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

This is the time for Liverpool to make their statement of intent. The running order in this title race has now been firmly established and Jurgen Klopp and his players know the job they must do. Chase down Chelsea.

If Antonio Conte's team had a mistake in them, it would surely have shown yesterday at Bournemouth with Diego Costa and N'Golo Kante twiddling their thumbs.

However, they were foot perfect and a game which might have been a problem was put to bed with some style.

Now Liverpool must do the same against Stoke.

They must also do the same on Saturday against Manchester City who leap-frogged Liverpool yesterday and they must keep winning after that if they have are to have any hope of winning the title. It will be done no other way.

Chelsea have to be the target and to get close to them, Klopp must match Conte's winning run which is a now hugely impressive 12 and counting.

My worry is that Chelsea are still improving. They absorbed the absence of their key goalscorer without a hiccup and let's be honest, the general consensus was that Chelsea would struggle if they had to operate without Costa.

Information

Before the game, Conte said that what he would see in this game would be very important information for him for the rest of the season.

Well, he got what he wanted. He knows he can manage.

It's an ominous sign for everyone else but it should be a challenge to Liverpool.

Can they go on the same kind of run and stay hot on Chelsea's heels? The Blues will have a slip-up, that is almost certain but don't expect any more than that.

Jose Mourinho was right when he said the title is Chelsea's to lose now and I can say that with some confidence even this far out for a couple of reasons.

Only Liverpool, City or perhaps Arsenal are capable of stringing ten consecutive wins together but all three have shown signs of brittleness.

Guardiola's City can be flaky, Arsenal's bottle went a few weeks ago when just for a moment, it looked like Arsene Wenger had finally found a winning balance and Liverpool still exhibit moments of chaos which echo the weakness in the squad three years ago and if we're being honest, the way the team has been for a long, long time.

Those characterisations will be music to Conte's ears but he will expect at least one club to match Chelsea pace from now on and to be ready to pounce if a mistake comes.

If that is to be Liverpool, it must start today against Stoke, a team more than capable of making life difficult.

I'll be watching the transfer window with great interest after Klopp hinted that he might do some business in January.

Let's face it, Liverpool haven't done great business in any transfer window for a long time.

At least Klopp stopped the rot during the summer with Sadio Mane and Joel Matip.

Klopp may feel that defence is his priority but I'd like to see him a sign a midfield warrior in the Souness mould because I don't think Liverpool have anyone who will dominate opposing players physically.

I see that Mourinho is well ahead of the game in his transfer dealings and there is no doubt, Victor Lindelof comes with a hot reputation attached.

But I can't see Manchester United near the shake-up for the title at this stage even though they keep winning matches.

The gap to Chelsea is too big and Mourinho is still painfully short in many areas in his squad but he is working to put that right and has money to burn.

Like Liverpool, United's recent transfer business has been uninspiring. David Moyes wasn't given the money or the backing, Louis van Gaal was given both but had Ed Woodward working the market.

Mourinho's influence in Old Trafford's dealings has been immediate and very obvious. He clearly didn't stop once the August window slammed shut.

I'd like to see Klopp doing that kind of business and if he were to sign a couple in this window, it would show he is not resting on his laurels for a second.

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