Commentator: Ian Darke on the upcoming football season
Liverpool were the unluckiest team in history to miss out on the title lastseason. They can make amends this time.
Jurgen Klopp’s team totalled 97 points and lost only one game as they
finished a point behind Manchester City. That record would have won every
other championship bar one.
Of course , City are still a superb side - but you have to wonder if their
main focus will be on winning the Champions League for the first time.
It will be close again , but Liverpool are aching to end their 30-year title drought and can edge it.
The Reds have been quiet in the summer , but having Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez fit again will feel like two new signings.
The loss of Vincent Kompany’s leadership in the City dressing room might be a factor too.
In case the City fans are shaking their fists at me , I do think Pep
Guardiola might deliver the Champions League this time.
Spurs have bought well this summer with Lo Celso and Ndombele beefing up
their options , but they need to keep Harry Kane fit. They looked booked
for third place.
It was a good window for Arsenal bringing in the Lille flyer Nicolas Pépé
for a club record fee , and getting the excellent young Scot Keiran Tierney and the experienced David Luiz, who divides opinion but represents value at£8m if he’s in the mood.
Frank Lampard’s debut season as Chelsea manager might be tough with no Eden Hazard to produce the magic.
And what of Manchester United ? Harry Maguire and Arron Wan Bissaka will
strengthen a wobbly defence while young Welshman Daniel James is lightning
fast - but they needed more and surely had to sign another striker to cover for the loss of Romelu Lukaku. The pressure is on Marcus Rashford to produce the goals.
Of the promoted clubs , Aston Villa have splashed the cash and with the
gifted Jack Grealish, may have enough to stay afloat.
Norwich are good to watch but this is a big leap for several of their
youngsters and they might struggle - and you wonder if Sheffield United have enough quality to survive, even with such a good boss as Chris Wilder.
Brighton and Newcastle are other clubs who could get dragged into the
Leicester, under Brendan Rodgers , have realistic top six ambitions.
Signing out, Ian