To some, it's Liverpool FC Reloaded. For others, it is Liverpool 2.0. But whatever the moniker, this season has been something of a step into the unknown for the Reds under Jurgen Klopp.

Not since his first summer in charge back in 2016, with the German having had the best part of a season to determine which route his team should take, has there been such a sweeping change in terms of personnel and method of playing.

It has been thus far been justified, with Liverpool going into Saturday's lunchtime showdown at Premier League leaders Manchester City just a point behind having taken 27 from their first 12 games.

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That's exactly the same position in which the Reds found themselves at the start of that 2016/17 campaign, the birth of Klopp's first recognised team as manager.

As then, there is a sense this is an evolving side perhaps missing a key element or two. Seven years ago, a top-rated goalkeeper and commanding centre-back were the chief requirements along with a wide forward, gaps filled by Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah over the subsequent 18 months.

The obvious shortcomings in the current team may not be so widespread - the clear priority is defensive midfield - but they start from a much stronger position with the core of the squad having already achieved success at Liverpool. The comparison between the respective starts, though, is no less intriguing.

And this season compares favourably to most other openings under Klopp. Indeed, Liverpool are a whopping 11 points better off than at this stage last term when they were already 15 points behind then leaders Arsenal and eight points off the top four, a gap they were unable to breach despite an impressive last third to the campaign.

It's better, too, than the 2021/22 season when a 25-point haul left them four points off the summit, with Liverpool eventually finishing second by a point behind City. And in terms of gap to the top spot, this campaign also sees the Reds closer than in 2018/19, when they were two points adrift of Pep Guardiola's side. They had, though, taken more points, 30 from the 36 on offer.

The previous season, Liverpool were never in the title hunt, standing 12 points behind City after earning 22 points from the first 12 games. But that was a strong enough foundation to ultimately secure Champions League qualification.

Only twice have the Reds been better placed than this term. One, of course, was in 2019/20, when they had dropped only two points to stand eight points clear, ultimately winning the title by a club-record margin.

The other, though, was the following campaign when they had taken 25 points from 12 games and were behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur only on goal difference. However, 18 points from the next 16 games left Liverpool scrambling for a top-four berth and serves as a reminder of how matters can turn quickly.

But Klopp will hope that capitulation remains an injury-ravaged exception to a rule that indicates Liverpool are already well on their way to at least Champions League qualification - and potentially an extended title challenge.