West Brom manager Tony Pulis believes Liverpool’s absence from European competition could prove crucial in the Premier League title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have made a fine start to the season and sit two points off the top of the table.
However, the other three sides in the league’s top four positions all have Champions League commitments, leading Pulis – whose West Brom side travel to Anfield on Saturday – to conclude that Liverpool have a clear advantage.
“[Klopp]’s alright,” he told a pre-match news conference. “He’s passionate, which is brilliant. You want that passion. It’s an important part of their club.
“They’ve got a great chance [of winning the title]. They’re not involved in Europe.
“The last time they weren’t in Europe and had a squad as strong as this, they came very close under Brendan [Rodgers].”
Liverpool have also been boosted by their off-season recruits, with Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum already earning regular places in a devastating attack recognised by Pulis.
“They’ve got some fantastic players,” he said. “Their front five are exceptional. They’ve all got the ability of taking players out of the game individually.”