There is a fair argument that the current Liverpool team is the best the club has ever put down.
It is also possible that Jurgen Klopp and those who play for him will one day look back on their careers and realize they have only won one Premier League title.
That, in a nutshell, is the state of affairs at the top of English football for the new season. The standard at the top is arguably higher than ever, but one team still stands alone as the very best in the Premier League. Manchester City have won four of the last five titles and the challenge for the rest remains the same. How to be ahead of them.
Jurgen Klopp has created one of the greatest Liverpool teams in the club’s history
Realistically, only one team can hope to do it and that’s Liverpool. We were eliminated by a point last season and we should be grateful for that. In any other competition in Europe, a side like Pep Guardiola’s champions could have expected to walk away with the title. Somehow, Klopp has managed to build and continue to improve a team that has been nose to nose with them in recent years.
At times, the sheer ferocity of this modern rivalry seems to tire both Klopp and Guardiola. It should feel like standing in front of a fire nine months a year. However, here they are – no doubt with renewed energy and purpose – at the start. Both with teams that may look marginally different, but both fundamentally the same.
As always, it’s hard to look beyond City for the title. Again, if I put money into something, it would be blue.
There remains uncertainty about Guardiola’s own future. He will be out of contract at the end of the season and the longer that situation lasts, the more it could affect his players. However, City’s squad has improved with the acquisition of Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips. Last summer they bought Jack Grealish. It’s not hard to see why they win things.
£51m Erling Haaland is one of Manchester City’s signings of the summer
Liverpool, on the other hand, have lost a key player in Sadio Mane. The Senegal forward has been as influential as Mo Salah in recent seasons and however effective new central forward Darwin Nunez proves to be, Mane could prove to be one of those players whose absence is felt just a little more acutely than anyone else. would do. wish.
And that’s what the Premier League is all about these days. The gap between the two best teams is so unimaginably thin that every summer not spent taking steps forward is in fact one at risk of losing ground. With this in mind, City will start again as favourites.
Below the top of the mountain there is movement in the foothills and we should be thankful we haven’t always been able to say that lately. Most of the noise comes from Old Trafford, where Manchester United have a new coach. Unfortunately, they also have many of the same players.
More interesting are the events at Tottenham, a club not known for its shrewdness in the transfer market. With Antonio Conte’s fervent coaching forging Spurs to the Champions League places on last May’s death, the Italian has been rewarded with a fleet of new players recruited to him by his sporting director and ally Fabio Paratici.
There is uncertainty over Pep Guardiola’s future as his contract expires at the end of the season
Much has been said about Conte’s relationship with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, but it is quite possible that it is the Conte-Paratici axis that has brought Tottenham forward at a pace and with a certainty not seen since the early knockout. out by Mauricio Pochettino.
There is a similar sense of purpose in north London at Arsenal, with their own technical director Edu acknowledging in the summer that too often money has been spent on players with insufficient character and indeed talent.
The arrival of Gabriel Jesus and City’s versatile Oleksandr Zinchenko will help solve the first problem, but whether Arsenal have enough depth to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish seems a pertinent question to ask.
Chelsea have one of Europe’s best coaches in Thomas Tuchel and that’s a good thing. The transition of Roman Abramovich’s years was difficult and not helped by a squad that continues to shatter. Tuchel will have to do his very best to keep it all together at Stamford Bridge and it’s hard not to be a little scared of him.
It’s encouraging to see the aim, intent and strategy of some of our big clubs, and there’s bound to be a lot of pressure this coming season. David Moyes and West Ham took care of it last year. This year it may come from Brighton – improving steadily under Graham Potter – and perhaps a Southampton side supported by new signings.
Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest is put to the test in the Premier League
At Leicester, Brendan Rodgers hopes his team can answer questions posed after last season’s marginal decline. However, the Midlands club have not signed an autograph, and in terms of publicity early in the season, they may well have their thunder stolen by the return of neighbors Nottingham Forest.
After 23 years back in the Premier League, Forest will have to do everything in his power to survive, despite the obvious gifts of their manager Steve Cooper. The same can be said of Bournemouth and Fulham.
The transition from Championship to Premier League isn’t getting any easier and that won’t be helped by the Premier League’s misguided decision to allow five substitutes this season. Ignore the talk about player wellbeing, it’s just another tool to tip the balance further towards the big clubs and is all the more depressing for that.
Everyone in the home game will of course get a month break from the end of November.
The first World Cup in the winter will have some novelty, but we can assume that we have learned one valuable lesson: it must never happen again.