Liverpool: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant his side is still dark horses for the Premier League title, despite going to the top of the table.
A 4-0 demolition of Tottenham at Anfield took Liverpool into top spot after Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all dropped points the day before.
With Liverpool still to play City and Chelsea at home, their chance of ending a 24-year wait for a title success is still in their hands.
But Rodgers continues to play down the prospect.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to be where we are. In the last few seasons we have been eighth and seventh,” he said.
There are some great teams up there and world class managers so we understand itâs going to be difficult, but we just do what we can do and see where it takes us.
There is no doubt they (City and Chelsea) understand this is going to be a real tough place to come. We love playing here.
“We respect Chelsea, they have a world class manager, top players, the squad has been put together over the last 10 years to win the Champions League and Premier League and City are one of the new superpowers in European football.
“But we feel that we can win any game, because we are a team. We may not have the best group of individuals but we have a lot of hunger in a team.”
Liverpool racked up an eighth straight league win thanks to a Younes Kaboul own-goal, Luis Suarezâs 29th of the season and second half strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson as Spurs were almost made to suffer a repeat of the 5-0 beating they took against the Reds at White Hart Lane in December.
And Rodgers is delighted to be bringing a sense of excitement back to Anfield, where there is a growing belief this could be the year.
“The supporters are appreciating what they are seeing,” he added. “You can see it was a long winter and it’s been a tough period over 20-odd years and they can see something building here, not just for now but for the future.”
Tottenham’s hopes of a top-four finish look to be over and manager Tim Sherwood can only hope that he is given the chance to try and make amends next season.
“I want to instil belief into the players and re-assure them they are not inferior to the sides they are stepping on the pitch against, like Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City, but the stats don’t lie and the return of points is not good enough,” he said.
“It’s something we need to look at and need to address if we want to aspire to be one of the top teams in the division.”
Sherwood sees Manchester City as favourites for the title but is not writing off Liverpool following another high-quality performance.
“Liverpool have done a fantastic job, from last season to this is chalk and cheese,” he added.
“They are still in this race. The players they have in the final third are sensational. If they tighten up a bit I think they have a good chance.”