Liverpool’s projected target this year seems to range anywhere from winning the Premier League title to finishing in the top four – according to the sceptics, even a top-six place will be lucky.
Liverpool fans have long-since learned not to indulge in cautious optimism, with so many promising seasons blowing up in their faces, and it seems that this time around, no-one can quite judge the potential of Brendan Rodgers’ side.
The general consensus seems to be that Liverpool are heading in the right direction; second place in the Premier League is not to be sniffed at in November, while Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are firing and the midfield looks stronger than it has for years.
Defender Kolo Toure has already targeted the Champions League, and now Luis Alberto has weighed into the debate. The Spanish winger, who joined the Reds during the summer, says a top-four place should be the target.
He said: “The team should focus on getting into the Champions League. It gives us great confidence to have a good start, it is fantastic. It is an ideal moment that we have to take advantage of.
“The team is focused on having a good season; we have very good players and we must take advantage of this and reach our target.”
It is a bold claim by Alberto, whose side must deny one of Arsenal, Chelsea, ManchesterCity, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur a top-four place in order to achieve that target.
Yet it comes just a week after Suarez, perhaps buoyed by his own scintillating form, seemed to suggest that Liverpool can win the title. He said: “The Premier League is very tight this season and anything can happen against anyone.”
Then there are those who have already written off Liverpool’s hopes. Predictably, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, was dismissive. He said: “While their team looks as strong as the others, their squad doesn't look quite so strong.”
There, perhaps, lies the key: Liverpool do not have the squad depth to match the likes of Chelsea and ManchesterCity, or even Tottenham Hotspur.
But what they do have is a first-team in fine form, looking almost unbeatable at home and solid away. They also have a manager who is nurturing some of the brightest young players in the game. Can they win the title? It seems no-one can quite decide…
image: © Ben Sutherland