Dejan Lovren claims Liverpool are contenders to win the title in the 2016/17 season and has taken a swipe at Manchester United by suggesting the Red Devils are not in the race to win the Premier League this term.
The Merseyside club have enjoyed a good start to the campaign as they sit fourth in the table with 23 points after 10 games, two points behind league leaders Chelsea, who have played one game more. The Reds take on Watford and a victory on Sunday will see them clinch the top spot, if Arsenal fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur.
United have endured a difficult run in the league under Jose Mourinho as they are eighth in the table with 15 points after 10 games. Lovren, who has been exceptional alongside Joel Matip in the heart of Liverpool's back four, believes the 20-time English champions could struggle to bounce back from their poor start to this season.
"Everyone started to respect us more, Liverpool is a title contender. Everything is positive, but it is still early, and a lot of big clubs chase the title too," Lovren told Sportske Novosti, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"I am not sure Manchester United will recover in time and join the race, but you never know. The title will be decided in 'smaller' games, not derbies."
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp also took a dig at Mourinho's side after suggesting that United could be out of the group stages of the European competition. The German made this comment when he was asked whether Liverpool have an advantage of not playing in Europe.
"I cannot compare. For the last six, seven years I was always travelling through Europe. I never thought 'this is too much'. If you want to be successful, you need European football," Klopp explained.
"Watford didn't travel last week. They have the same situation. We have to show we use the time for training over the whole season, not the first 10 games.
"Did you ask the same of Antonio Conte? They have the same situation. Maybe Manchester United have the same from January onwards?"