Gary Neville believes Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea could give reigning champions Liverpool a run for their money in the Premier League title race this season.
The former Manchester United and England defender would not be surprised to see Jurgen Klopp ‘s men retain their crown in 2020-21 – but does not expect them to run away with it again.
Liverpool finished 17 points clear of runners-up Manchester City last term – and 33 clear of third-placed Manchester United.
After nine games of this season, Tottenham lead the way – just ahead of the Reds on goal difference.
Chelsea are third, closely followed by Leicester City, who Liverpool swept aside 3-0 at Anfield on Sunday.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea take on Jose Mourinho’s Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (4.30pm) in a hotly-anticipated showdown.
Speaking on his latest podcast, before Liverpool beat Leicester, Neville said: “We’re excited about the Chelsea-Tottenham game next Sunday.
“It’s an interesting season. We thought Chelsea would be interesting at the start of the season because they invested big, young, and quite exciting as well.
“And it looks like Frank Lampard is now starting to get it right. He was searching in the first few weeks of the season for what was his best system, where he could fit everybody in.
“There were certain players weren’t fit during that period. Now they are all sort of getting fit and he’s starting to work it out, and they’re looking pretty strong.”
Liverpool have been hampered by injury problems of late – none more so than the one to talismanic defender Virgil van Dijk, who is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
For Neville, that blow could have an impact on the race for the title.
“Is it a season where Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho could be up against each other in a title race? We’d never have thought it,” he added.
“We thought it would just be a two-horse race (Liverpool and Man City). I have to say that having watched City in the first few weeks of the season, I thought Liverpool would run away with it, but not now, not with the Van Dijk injury.
“That’s the one I think is a game-changer, in terms of it exposes them a lot more.”
Neville has been impressed by Spurs this season – most recently in their 2-0 win over Man City at the weekend.
“I have to say that for a period under Jose Mourinho, I didn’t think feel as though Spurs had an identity,” he said. “They almost looked like a team in transition out of a really good style of play under Pochettino, into a style that was different and wasn’t being taken on board by the players.
“I will be that critical – I thought it was a case of ‘they’re not having this’.
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