Liverpool, September 27: Jurgen Klopp expects an "open race" as multiple teams compete for Premier League glory this season, insisting it will not just be a shoot-out between Liverpool and Manchester City.
The German brought the top-flight trophy back to Anfield for the first time in 30 years last term, with the Reds finishing 18 points clear of Pep Guardiola's side, who themselves were 15 ahead of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Despite that huge gap, Klopp believes it will be a close-run thing this term, with the Liverpool boss including Tottenham and Monday's opponents Arsenal in the mix.
The Gunners finished a distant eighth, 43 points shy of the champions' incredible tally of 99, and yet Klopp considers Mikel Arteta's side, who beat Liverpool in the Community Shield on spot-kicks, challengers.
"The team’s performances have been a joy to watch and to win the title in fewer matches than any previous Champions is an incredible achievement"— Premier League (@premierleague) July 22, 2020
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters on @LFC’s achievement this season https://t.co/VanyRaj41A pic.twitter.com/ihpzNZyl6f
"They came eighth because they did not have a time to sort the situation," he said, referencing the fact Arteta was not appointed until December.
"They were not the eighth best team in the league, they could've qualified easily for Europe [via the league], if not even the Champions League.
"The Premier League and these teams are too good, you can't decide the season before it starts. It just doesn't work like this.
"Man City, I think maybe people thought they could have some struggles at Wolves because Wolves are really good ... and in the second half they could have got a point.
"Nobody is safe from this kind of thing, so we have to work incredibly hard. And over the other teams we have no influence. When we face them, we want to beat them.
"It's an open race, Chelsea will be there, [Manchester] United will be there, Arsenal, Tottenham - these teams will always be there.
"There are tough moments for us and other teams and it's about how you react and are you doing it in the right way.
"It's a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to go through a lot of moments. I don't know why today we talk about winning the league, I have no idea who will win but I know a lot of teams will try."
Liverpool have started their title defence with wins over Leeds United and Chelsea, scoring six goals in the process.