Football Expert & Columnist
Liverpool face Wolves live on Friday Night Football from 7pm
Last Updated: 20/12/18 11:42pm
Liverpool have the “in-game managers” to sustain their Premier League title charge, according to Danny Higginbotham.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to face an in-form Wolves side on Friday Night Football with Liverpool two points ahead of Manchester City having yet to be beaten in their 17 matches so far this season.
Defender Dejan Lovren talked up the possibility of going the whole campaign without suffering defeat, and while Higginbotham feels that should not be the club’s mindset, he believes the characters in the dressing room places them in a strong position to win the title.
Higginbotham told The Debate: “I think what they’ve got are throwback characters. They’ve got the world-class players, they’ve got the Van Dijks, but what they’ve also got – and Van Dijk is one as well – they’ve got leaders, characters, communicators.
“They’ve got [Jordan] Henderson and [James] Milner who are exactly the same. That’s something that’s starting to disappear from the game now. If you do have them players now, it stands out unbelievably.
“Whenever you watch Liverpool, the communication is incredible. The forward players are allowed to get on with things. They near enough attack with a six, but you can you see the four players behind the ball are all communicating.
Wolves vs Liverpool
December 21, 2018, 7:00pm
“That’s something that doesn’t really get talked about as much in the game now because it’s starting to die out. It gives you such an advantage, because the communication, the leadership, the understanding of how the team is expected to play is so important.
“In-game managers are a massive thing. For all the form Van Dijk’s been in, having that leadership qualities within the team cannot be understated.”
Liverpool can confirm their position at the top of the table on Christmas Day should they beat Nuno Espirito Santo’s side at Molineux.
Every team bar Liverpool in the last 10 years have gone on to lift the title when top on December 25, with the Reds finishing second on both occasions in the past decade.
Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool were runners-up to Manchester United during the 2008/09 season, while Brendan Rodgers’ side suffered the same fate at the hands of Manchester City by the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
LISTEN: The Debate Podcast
Danny Higginbotham, Andy Townsend and Shola Ameobi discuss Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and player loyalty.
But Higginbotham feels Klopp’s greater defensive organisation will make the chances of Liverpool slipping for a third time less likely.
“In the 2013/14 season, they conceded 50 goals in 38 games,” he added. “There were only seven or eight teams who conceded less. The difference between these Liverpool teams that have come close in recent seasons is the defensive side of the team.
“Teams will frustrate them. They might just get the one goal, but what we’re seeing this season is the defence winning those games, not the attack. That’s the beauty of it. It’s having that fine balance to it. They can rely on their defence.”