Liverpool can finally win the league for the first time since 1990 and outshine even Manchester City

IT had become the oldest joke in the book — how do you know when the season is about to kick off?

When Liverpool fans started jumping around and telling anyone in earshot “this is going to be our year”.

 Jurgen Klopp has made some savvy signings and Naby Keita finally comes on board this term

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Jurgen Klopp has made some savvy signings and Naby Keita finally comes on board this term
 Finishing above Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is easier said than done

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Finishing above Pep Guardiola's Manchester City is easier said than done

They’ve been hoping so since 1990 — but this time I reckon all those Reds might just be right.

Of course Manchester City are the team to beat again and, of course, finishing above Pep Guardiola’s men is far easier said than done.

But looking at the squad Jurgen Klopp has assembled, I will be amazed if Liverpool don’t push them very, very close.

In fact I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that by May the title will be back on Merseyside for the first time in 29 years.

 

Liverpool proved last season that they are City’s kryptonite, beating them three times — and they’ve strengthened better than anyone this summer.

We all know they needed a goalkeeper and they’ve got one of the best in Brazilian Alisson, while Virgil van Dijk now has his feet under the table as the team’s defensive leader.

Dejan Lovren will always give you a chance but full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are top drawer, so there is a really solid look to the Reds backline.

They have great depth in midfield and Naby Keita is a magnificent addition, while up front they’re as potent as any side in Europe.

 Virgil van Dijk has been a huge addition to the Liverpool squad

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Virgil van Dijk has been a huge addition to the Liverpool squad
 Alisson Becker is also a massive signing for Liverpool to shore things up at the back

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Alisson Becker is also a massive signing for Liverpool to shore things up at the back

I would seriously fancy them to beat any of the other top dogs and if they sort out their Achilles heel — tripping up against the so-called lower sides — they will be right there.

The other thing in their favour, and I can’t stress how important this can be, is the relationship with the manager.

You see every week how close a unit they are and when people talk of players running through brick walls for the boss, nowhere is that more evident than at Liverpool.

Not that overhauling City will be easy. Far from it.

We’ve already heard Guardiola saying they’re ready to go again and that is ominous for everyone.

They won’t come back to the pack — in fact, if anything, they’ll be even better because they’re a year wiser and know how to win.

 Riyad Mahrez has been Manchester City's headline signing of the summer

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Riyad Mahrez has been Manchester City's headline signing of the summer
 Harry Maguire has been a promising player for years but only now are Manchester United taking notice

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Harry Maguire has been a promising player for years but only now are Manchester United taking notice

If the rest let City get a head start again like last year, the league could be over by Christmas, as it was last season.

This time, though, I think Liverpool will be right on their tail throughout.

If the mood at Anfield and the Etihad is all smiles, at Old Trafford it seems to be the complete opposite.

Jose Mourinho has spent the summer complaining about what he’s lacking, there is unrest over the likes of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial and a real scattergun approach to signings.

Look at the apparent chase for defender Harry Maguire.

I could see he was a good player when I was coaching at MK Dons and he was with Sheffield United.

 Arsenal are hoping Unai Emery can work wonders for them this season

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Arsenal are hoping Unai Emery can work wonders for them this season

He proved it further at Hull, more so at Leicester and then had a great World Cup — and only then did United seem to take notice.

It’s just not how United used to do things and that worries me — and must worry their fans even more.

Spurs concern me too, because they’ve not signed anyone, while North London rivals Arsenal are pinning everything on a new boss in Unai Emery, rather than big-money arrivals.

That leaves us with Chelsea as the other would-be title winners and we saw on Sunday in the Community Shield that they are way off City.

They had a world of problems in the summer, players wanting to quit, a manager we all knew was going but didn’t actually leave until after pre-season had started — it was a mess.

It’s hard to see them going all the way this season, as much as you know they’ll be in the mix for a top-four place.

But as for the top of the pile?

I am predicting that turning into a shootout between Liverpool and City.

And in nine months’ time I can see Klopp’s famous smile becoming broader than ever.


WOLVES and Fulham aren’t coming into the Prem simply to survive — they plan on making an impression.

Molineux chiefs have backed boss Nuno Espirito Santo with some great signings, thanks in a big way to Jorge Mendes’ involvement.

And I can’t wait to see Joao Moutinho in particular.

 Joao Moutinho is an exciting signing for Wolves

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Joao Moutinho is an exciting signing for Wolves

Fulham, who have one of the best young talents in Ryan Sessegnon, have also recruited wisely with the likes of Jean Michael Seri, Alfie Mawson and Andre Schurrle.

Sadly, I can’t see Cardiff enjoying similar success and they’ll struggle to survive beyond one season.

It will be tough going again for Southampton and Huddersfield, too.

While Watford, despite striking gold by getting a crazy £40million for Richarlison, will be in the battle to stay up.

And the best thing that could happen to Burnley may well be an early European exit, or that could prove a real hindrance.

Ben Gibson is a great buy for Sean Dyche — and if the defender is not in the next England squad, I will want to know why.

But the Clarets have a small squad and injuries could stretch them to breaking point.

IT had become the oldest joke in the book — how do you know when the season is about to kick off?