Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool are favourites to win the Premier League this campaign but says Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United could challenge only if Klopp’s side are plagued by injuries.
Last campaign, Liverpool won the Premier League title by 18 points, with Jurgen Klopp leading the club to their 19th top-flight title – the first since 1990.
Ferdinand has dismissed claims that it was a ‘freak season’ for the Reds and says they could still defend their title if key players such as Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane stay fit in the season.
But the former Manchester United defender says there is no guarantee for that and has given Man City, Chelsea and Manchester United hope of catching Liverpool.
Ferdinand told TEAMtalk: ‘No one can say Liverpool had a freak season because they finished so far ahead of their rivals, but they did have one big factor on their side that they cannot guarantee going forward.
‘The key for them has been having their key players fit for the best part of two seasons. ‘It has been massive and what we have yet to find out is how they will cope if they are to lose a few big names for an extended period.
‘Virgil van Dijk has played nearly every game for two seasons and it’s hard to keep that going. Mo Salah has been fit for all the big games and so has Sadio Mane.
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‘If they lose one of two of their players with big injuries, then we will see something else from them.
‘What have they got in reserve to come in for these proven stars and maintain this level of consistency? That’s what we are waiting to see.’
Rio Ferdinand added: ‘Questions will be asked of this Liverpool team and their recruitment from this point forward.
‘Their front three have been fit consistently and they might need to look at having some better quality in reserve if Salah or Mane, in particular, are out for a long period.
‘When I look at the teams I played in when we were winning titles every season at Manchester United, we never had two seasons when all the top players were fit for the big games, so Liverpool have had some fortune there and obviously do things right on the medical side as well to get their players right.
‘If they can continue to keep those players fit, I don’t see Liverpool being stopped this season, but it is unlikely that will happen year after year. If things change with the personnel, it opens it up for the other teams and not just Man City.’