It feels like it’s hardly been away but the Premier League is all set to return this weekend.
Liverpool will be attempting to defend their title with Jurgen Klopp’s first test taking place tomorrow as the English champions prepare to welcome Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted Leeds United to Anfield.
With the dawn of a new season upon us, it’s that time again for pundits to make their predictions about how the Reds will fare in the 2020/21 campaign.
Much of the same for Liverpool
BBC asked 24 of their top pundits for their top-four predictions and more importantly who they deem will come out on top this season.
Out of the 24 selected pundits, 13 tipped Liverpool to retain their league crown despite the club making just one solitary signing this summer in the form of Kostas Tsimikas.
One pundit who was convinced that the Reds will set the standard again was Jermaine Jenas.
The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was surprised that a lot of people couldn’t see Liverpool winning it again and Jenas has backed Klopp and his players to build towards an era of dominance.
“I’m surprised so many people don’t see Liverpool winning it again”, Jenas said as per BBC Sport.
“I know their results fell away at the end of the season but you have to remember they had wrapped up the title so early, then had to get to the end of the season with no crowds. Even in normal circumstances, it would be a struggle to maintain their intensity.
“So I don’t think Klopp will allow their standards to drop now. Why would you build something to then just give it away?
“I can’t find a reason anyone will finish above them – I am expecting Liverpool to keep on building an era of dominance.”
Before the start of last season, there was a strong belief that Manchester City would canter to a third successive PL title yet Pep Guardiola’s team fell off the pace by a gargantuan 18 points.
This time around there is a much greater expectancy on Liverpool to be the country’s dominating force following on from a club-record 99-point finish last season.
Danny Murphy, Mark Lawrenson, Dion Dublin, Joleen Lescott, Sue Smith, Leon Osman, Matthew Upson, Clinton Morrison, Ian Wright, Karen Carney, Stephen Warnock and Martin Keown all predicted that Klopp and his team will become only the second team in 11 years to successfully retain their title.
10 other BBC members predicted Manchester City to regain their crown while former England international Chris Waddle was the only pundit to pick anyone other than City or Liverpool after predicting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United to pip the league this season.
It will be interesting to see how Liverpool adapt to their new role as the hunted as opposed to the hunters. For the first time in 30 years, the Reds will begin a season without being weighed down by history and instead, the team can focus solely on being the best once again.
A motivator as effective and relentless as Klopp will not allow standards to drop, and with the bulk of Liverpool’s PL-winning squad still very-much intact, there is no reason to suggest any likelihood of a drop-off from Klopp’s ‘mentality monsters’.
There will be every hope that a team as finely tuned as Liverpool can go the distance once again and build on from the unrivalled success the club have enjoyed over the previous two seasons.
Liverpool’s first six fixtures of 2020/21
- Leeds United (H) September 12 – 5:30pm
- Chelsea (A) September 20 – 4:30pm
- Arsenal (H) September 28 – 8:30pm
- Aston Villa (A) October 3 – 3:00pm
- Everton (A) October 17 – 3:00pm
- Sheffield United (H) – 3:00pm
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