This season has almost been the reverse of the last for Liverpool.
Previously, they have been a relentlessly exciting but ultimately flawed team; more than capable of beating any opponent, but conceding too many goals and dropping too many points to ultimately launch a title challenge.
This time around, they are unbeaten in the league, joint-top and have only conceded three times. The defence has no doubt improved; but the midfield lacks creativity and the fabled front three have struggled to click.
So why haven’t Liverpool hit top gear yet? The World Cup is a valid excuse for the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham, but not the Reds; Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson were the only first-teamers who played regularly and went deep into the competition.
That freshness should have allowed Liverpool to bound ahead, but they remain stodgy. Mo Salah’s performances are undoubtedly a factor; they are not a major worry but the Premier League does have a way of quickly discovering how to stifle high performers.
It is up to Klopp and Salah to adapt. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury and Naby Keita’s period of adjustment are also a factor; Liverpool lack a deep creator so at least midfielder has to be able to cascade forward into space.
Mostly, it is down to Klopp. He knows that Liverpool had to tighten up in order to be in the title race; he can add the stardust to a solid base.