Hughton expects Liverpool to be title contenders next season

Brighton manager Chris Hughton believes Liverpool will be one of the contenders for the Premier League title next season.

Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Manchester City have stormed their way to the title this year and are 19 points ahead of second-placed Manchester United with just one game to play.

Albion complete their season on Sunday at Liverpool, who are fourth and need a point to secure a Champions League place. The Reds also have the Champions League final to come later this month when they meet Real Madrid in Kiev.

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Liverpool have not won the top-flight title in England since 1989/90 but Hughton said: "I don't think they're that far behind (Manchester City).

“I think the only difference is that we've embarked on a season where Man City have been that good.

“If Man City are that good next season then I don't see too much difference because I don't see too much wrong with what Liverpool have done and what Manchester United have done.

“I just think you've had one side that have blown everybody away so I don't think they (Liverpool) need to do that much.

“They've brought in Van Dijk, who's a world-class centre-half. They've got great options. They allowed Coutinho to go and generally nobody talks about him so I think that shows how far they've come.

“I think come next season they'll be very much title contenders and I think probably all of those clubs are hoping Man City don't have the type of season next season, that they had this season.”

Hughton added the form of Mo Salah this year has meant there has not been much mention of Philippe Coutinho since his move to Barcelona in January.

Albion's boss said: “I think he's the biggest reason.

“I'm quite sure the manager of Liverpool and Liverpool staff don't like to just talk about Salah because it's not just about Salah.

“But there's no doubt about the huge influence he's had on them this season.

“For somebody to score the amount of goals that he's scored, to win as many games for them as what he has done, I think that's the biggest reason why they haven't spoken about Coutinho.”