With the Premier League fixtures locked in for the 2019/20 season, it’s time to take a look at the potential runners and riders.
The focus for now will be on, in Premier League terms, a slumbering giant – Liverpool FC.
Since Jürgen Klopp took over at Anfield, he has implemented a near perfect strategy of player recruitment, culminating in the impressive capture of the European Cup – a sixth for the club.
However, even the proudest Scouser must be feeling a pinch of hurt at the long wait for a domestic league title but they are now one of the favourites with the top betting sites here.
It’s been thirty (30!) years since the Redmen last lifted a domestic league title, and they’ve never lifted the Premier League trophy.
This will change in May 2020, and here are five reasons why.
After the 2018/19 season, when Liverpool lost only one game, hoovered up a record runners-up points total, scored the most goals and conceded the second-fewest, this squad clearly has what it takes to push right to the limit.
Minor tweaks around the edges and maintaining the squad with that experience under their belt means that all that is really needed is to convert one or two of those seven draws into wins.
Maybe a slight easing of the gas on a minor domestic cup, maybe throwing an eye to league games between Champions League games, with a nod to the fact that the Champions League is notoriously difficult to retain.
All the experience is there, and Liverpool will draw on that and be successful with it.
Last season Jürgen Klopp showed the rest of Europe what Dortmund and Liverpool fans have known for a long time. He can do it at the business end.
His methods and style of play are perfectly suited to and properly complement the so-called “English Game”
They hark back to the club’s glory days; he has enshrined that untouchable quality of comradeship that is necessary in any title winning squad, and Liverpool have that in spades.
The feeling is that Klopp has nurtured and finely tuned this squad in his own vision, plucked players from around the footballing world and moulded them into a machine capable of anything.
Klopp’s drive and determination is just the finishing touch, the polish on what promises to be a domestic title winning season.
With the dark days of the previous floundering regime well and truly banished, all it takes is a look around the other potential challengers to see that Liverpool FC is the best run of the lot.
Not one of the other Top 6 clubs can claim that their owners don’t have undue influence on the dressing room or training pitch.
The opposite is the case on Anfield Road. Fenway Sports and John W. Henry have been and will continue to be a positive influence on Jürgen Klopp’s troops.
Staunchly backing their man in the transfer market once he identifies where improvements need to be made, most notably with the crucial purchase of Virgil Van Dijk.
They also stay out of the limelight, and don’t seek the celebratory status that too many of the other owners or C-Suite Execs at other clubs aspire to.
The manager, players and fans can trust the owners, and that is an important and often overlooked step on the way to success.
Emulating past heroes is one thing, and who didn’t take a glance back to the smiling face of Emlyn Hughes when they saw Andrew Robertson with the European Cup, but you get the sense that these players aren’t finished, aren’t going to rest on their laurels and don the white suits and celebrity trappings of a certain other era.
No, these lads are in it for the long haul. Growing ever hungrier in their search for that elusive league title.
They are together as one, and it shows. Klopp has built more than a football team here, it’s a family, striving on toward the ultimate goal.
Their skill is obvious, but often that is not enough. These players, this team, can and will deliver.
It has often been said that The Kop has the most knowledgeable fans in the league. And it’s true.
They know the virtues of trusting the manager to get it right.
They know the reasons that teams grow and succeed is by backing them through everything.
And when the players and manager gave them the European Cup in May, that trust grew, that backing became even stronger, and the team will respond on the pitch.
As The Kop roars them on to glory, next May will be the culmination of it all.
Jordan Henderson lifting that Premier League trophy, the first Liverpool captain to do it in front of an adoring Anfield crowd, a generation distant from Ronnie Whelan taking the Old First Division pot,.
The fans can take some of the credit on that day for showing that trusting and sticking with their man is the only way to be truly successful.
And they will win the league this season.