Leicester City must be taken “seriously as title contenders” if they beat reigning champions Liverpool, according to club legend Gerry Taggart.
The Foxes are flying high at the top of the Premier League table, with just two defeats from their opening eight league games of the season.
They are one point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Jurgen Klopp’s side, who they face at Anfield next Sunday.
Taggart argues the title race will be more open than ever this term, and believes Leicester could be in the mix to repeat their stunning success of 2016.
“Depth-wise this squad is a lot healthier than five years ago,” the former defender told the Daily Star.
“In terms of all-round quality, right across the pitch, it’s stronger and better than the one that won the Premier League
“And the title race this year is the most open I can remember – definitely way more open than in 2016.
“Nobody’s running away with it this time. Liverpool are up there, Tottenham are up there, Chelsea are hovering, and then you have Southampton and, of course, Leicester.
“The game at Liverpool can be a real marker for the Leicester team. “They’ve already won at City and Arsenal. Can they now go to Anfield and beat the champions?
“If they do, then everybody must start taking them seriously as title contenders.”
Taggart has been impressed by the way boss Brendan Rodgers has coped with injuries to the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu.
And he says striker Jamie Vardy will be key to City’s challenge for first place.
“Brendan was caught by these injuries but he’s changed the system – playing three central defenders – and it’s worked a treat,” he added.
“He’s learning what suits his players best, while their versatility, which is being overlooked, is amazing.
“They’re playing a different way but the results are still the same and the football even better. It’s incredibly exciting.”
He continued: “If Jamie stays fit, he can play another two to three years. He improves with age because he hasn’t lost his pace and his football brain and knowledge is huge.
“With Jamie, Jonny Evans and Kasper Schmeichel, there’s a backbone that has done it all before.”