Liverpool have golden chance to capitalise on top-four rivals' struggles

Liverpool have a win on the board.

It may have been an expected three points, but the Reds showed their mettle in adversity during their Anfield opener last weekend.

Bournemouth started brightly and took the lead within the opening 10 minutes, but Liverpool do what they do best at Anfield and fight back.

Alexis Mac Allister’s undeserved red card threw a spanner in the works as the Reds held a 2-1 lead, but Diogo Jota’s timely finish secured a nerve-easing two goal cushion.

Two games have passed and Liverpool are far from full stride, but one thing is clear at this stage – they are much better off than some of their rivals for the Champion League places.

Manchester City and Arsenal have a maximum six points, as expected from last season's top two. Newcastle again look a team to be reckoned with, but Eddie Howe’s side now face the complications of playing in Europe alongside the Premier League. A 5-1 hammering of a good Aston Villa side and a narrow 1-0 loss at the Etihad have shown the Magpies will compete once again.

Liverpool face a testing trip to the North East on Sunday, in what is their toughest game of the new season. Some Reds fans would shake on a point right now.

However, there are other members of the Reds faithful who know that this team is more than capable of coming away with the three points just as they did last term.

The acquisition of Wataru Endo could prove to be shrewd one and the Japan captain will be expected to start for the first time for Liverpool in an attempt to sure up an uncertain defence and give freedom to the talented attackers the side possesses.

READ MORE: How effective can Wataru Endo be for Liverpool?

Liverpool are in good shape and know a finish in the top four is the minimum requirement for this season. Another midfield signing could quietly turn them into title contenders.

Two teams who are looking far from title contenders after two games are Manchester United and Chelsea. Despite both spending heavily in the summer window, neither have looked anything special. In fact, you struggle to see where there is room in the top four for them.

After finishing 12th last season, Chelsea’s should be lower. But, when you spend the money they have, you have to expect trophies and a title charge. No European football should aid Mauricio Pochettino’s men, but much, much more will be needed.

An opening day home draw against Liverpool brought optimism of what could be once the £115m man, Moises Caicedo played. Well, the next game gave you that answer after he came on to give away a penalty as West Ham beat them 3-1.

Chelsea look a side who don’t know how to win. Players don’t just snap out of that all of a sudden and Pochettino will know he has a job on his hands. It’s great spending money on players, but getting them to function together is another thing.

© Proshots - Maurico Pochettino

The London side are short of a world-class goalscorer, which is hard to fathom given the fact they’ve spent over £900m since Todd Boehly bought the club. Goals win games.

Another side looking in disarray is Manchester United – much to the pleasure of Reds supporters! Erik ten Hag’s side are back in the Champions League and have added Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund to their side for £160m.

Despite the additions, United look worse off. They scraped to three points in their opener at Old Trafford against a struggling Wolves and then were beaten 2-0 away at Tottenham in a poor display. Mount looks out of place in a midfield where Casemiro is not at his best while Onana looks like making a mistake every game.

Hojlund is yet to make his debut and has potential, but United need him to hit the ground running. If he doesn’t then he’ll be in for a world of ridicule by rival fans.

Liverpool need to keep their heads down and focus on themselves, but they should be quietly confident top four is easily achievable this season given the problems of their rivals.

Ignore United and Chelsea, maybe it’s time to be more concerned about Brighton and Villa.

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