Now Liverpool fans want to play down expectations…

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It’s nearly there…and some Liverpool fans are already fine about Liverpool not winning the title. Send your mails to [email protected]

 

Giddy kippers
I’m excited.
Dale (Duper) Leeds

 

…I think Leeds will take a lot of people by ‘surprise’, we will easily avoid relegation and beat each one of the big 4, 5 or is it 6 now (a lot has changed since we last were here) at least once over the course of the season. We will start strongly, briefly flirt with the European places and then tail of into mid table after we have reached Christmas / Safety. Maybe it’ll even be enough to turn the phrase ‘doing a Leeds’ into meaning something completely different. Maybe I’m deluded but I think we’ll be just fine……..I’d rather play it relatively safe, survive and build towards the inevitable 2022 title win slowly than spaffing millions of quid on a whole new squad (see Fulham circa 2018) and it not working out and causing crushing debts (see Leeds circa 2004). Also can the BBC and other news outlets please stop interviewing and giving air time to former chairmen – they broke my soul 16 years ago and it has only just healed.
Tony (still chasing the dream)

 

Is this season a free hit for Liverpool?
Predictions are coming in thick and fast before the start of the season (can’t believe it’s already here). One thing I was thinking and wondered how other Liverpool fans would feel, is that this seems like a bit of a free hit for Liverpool.

Now, I know the old adage – buy when on top, from a position of strength. But it simply doesn’t apply this season. To improve the starting XI we’d need to be looking at players worth £60m plus. To improve the squad – and I mean realistically, to add the kind of quality that can step up when needed, you’re looking at players for £20–30m at least. Thiago has been obviously, heavily linked, but I don’t see Liverpool paying £20–30m for a 29-year old. It’s not how the club works. If it does happen, you can bet Gini would have to move to raise the cash. Doesn’t make sense to me.

Personally, with the achievement of the past couple of seasons, and no possible high-quality additions, you have to think that finishing in the top two would be a success. Finishing (a closer than this season) third/fourth with Chelsea/City spending as much as they have and Utd bound to splash out, would be disappointing, but not inconceivable.

If we come out of the Covid crisis (maybe 21-22 season) with the current squad relatively intact and bit more money to spend – as FSG have a clearer picture of finances, then I think we will be a position to push on. Let’s not forget, retaining the title is not easy at the best of times. It’s going to be even harder in the worst of times, when as Jurgen Klopp said on 5live, our opposition are bankrolled by oligarchs and countries. We all remember Hicks and Gillett, let’s be thankful the club is being run prudently. And not forget we have top-class players already.

So, in conclusion, my main prediction for this year – it’s going to be really, really, really weird. But Liverpool have zero pressure. I plan to enjoy the entertainment without the 30-year monkey on our backs.

Cheers,
Marc (Also, Naby Keita to play >30 league games and be absolutely ace)

 

…I think the owners intended LFC to be self sufficient when they bought. They weren’t prepared to go into a loss to boost the club. They weren’t going to take money out, but they weren’t going to put money in either. [Anfield and Main stand renovations were loans]

The income has paid for player purchases and wages and wage increases, operating expenses, expansions, training academy development [£50mil, delayed?].

No fans in stadium, so we have lost £3m / match x 19 = £57m. There goes Timo Werner.

Some fans complain that even the promoted clubs have outspent us. Even Everton. Well, to put it bluntly, Everton and the promoted clubs don’t have players on £180-200k/ week because honestly, they either haven’t proven themselves at the top level [promoted clubs], or simply haven’t been successes [everton].

Compared to 2010 Oct, when we almost went bankrupt after being cheated by a pair of Yahoo Cowboys, and 2015 under BrendanR, where the expensive players were mediocre [Christian Benteke was Andy Carroll 2.0; Sakho was hot and cold, Lovren was inconsistent; Firmy was played at WB lol]… who would have thought then we would win the UCL in four years and the EPL in 5?

In last year’s UCL team of the year, we had SEVEN players in the top 30. Many of whom we had bot for 30-40 mil or less, and whose worth had doubled or even tripled. Our wages have also gone up to £310mil/ yr, becos of their performances [never a bad thing].

Unfortunately we don’t have a sugar daddy, but in five years we’ve won two prices that our rivals haven’t both won.

We wont be able to splurge, but we wont ever be near bankruptcy either. And we’ll always be competitive.

That’s not a bad place to be.
Gab YNWA
[no, I don’t work in LFC’s HR dept, nor write for the LFC Echo – I wonder what those guys are smoking]

 

Liverpool = Versatility over depth
Okay. I’ll bite. It was an interesting piece on the strength of Liverpool’s squad. But I feel like it’s (probably intentionally) largely oversimplified.

The choice of back-up options is particularly OTT.

Minamino I’ll give you. But then again, if Firmino doesn’t play, Klopp has the option of moving Mane or Salah to the middle, which we’ve done plenty during games. Bringing in Origi, Brewster (for now anyway). And yes – Minamino is an option there. But Klopp clearly has a lot of faith in the guy, and I’d imagine it’s pretty likely we’ll see more than just cameos now that his half-season of probation is up.

Things get a little wild after that.

Harry Wilson. Don’t be ridiculous guys. I can only assume this was bait to coerce people like me into writing in. Bravo. If either Mane or Salah is out, Klopp is more likely to deploy Origi, Minamino, Harvey Elliot or even Shaqiri in that position as a straight replacement. And before those four, he would probably be even more likely to shunt Ox or Keita up into the front 3, as he did regularly last season (much to my dismay I’ll admit, but it’s a favoured tactic of his). Wilson is so far down the pecking order, that unless there is a set-piece, with seconds left on the clock, 1 substitution remaining, after TAA’s hamstrings have just exploded, and a rousing cinematic underdog style theme tune playing through the stadium – there is almost no chance we’ll ever see him.

And at CB. Well, before Van den Berg gets anywhere near the pitch – Matip, Fabinho and even new kid Billy Koumetio are far more likely to find themselves there. And ultimately, a defensive line containing any of those isn’t that far off what Man City was regularly using last season. And they didn’t do too badly in the league.

As for the list of players who would have improved our squad. I think each of them falls into one of three categories.

A) Erm… would they though?
Are Fraser, Gotze, Vertonghen etc actually better than what we have? I don’t think so. Or are we saying that just having more numbers available = squad improvement? They all feel like more deadwood to me.

B) Klopp is happy with his options.
I’m referring here to the fullbacks. With Klopp happier to use Neco Williams, we’ve got two of each now. That’s basically double what we had last year. And we’ll probably still see a fair bit of James Milner in those and many other positions anyway. And before anyone says that those are big drop-offs from TAA and Robbo… well, so are the fullbacks on that list.

C) They’re not ‘Klopp’ style signings.
I know this is essentially what you’re arguing against to begin with. But Klopp just isn’t going to sign 32 and 33-year-old strikers who he hasn’t identified as fitting his ethos and playing style. It’s just not the way he does it. He would rather squeeze out usefulness from the options he has than bring in a potential square peg. He’s not going to sign Olivier Giroud or Edison Cavani to use instead of Firmino. Even if I might love to see it. It’s just the most anti-Klopp thing I could ever imagine. He would rather have Shaqiri around to play a key part in exactly 2 league games than bring in a new guy he isn’t sure about. And I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt at times like this because he’s made it work before.

To summarise, it’s always a bit rudimentary to look at squads and try to identify like for like replacements in every position. Especially when, as we all know, football is largely about coaching, tactics and adaptability. And after all, teams are built in the image of their manager.

This season could, of course, prove me completely wrong, but I don’t think having a small squad means you don’t have a versatile squad. While we might all prefer Klopp to carry a full toolbox, but actually he seems content to crack on with a Swiss-army knife.
Ryan C, LFC

 

…I’ve just finished reading Will Ford’s article about Liverpool’s upcoming season… He could have a very eggy face in 12 months’ time.
Oliver, London

 

Why Man City will not win the Premier League
While the English Press continue to fawn and fall at Pep’s feet for the new season, even going so far as to signing Messi for City on his behalf, let me tell you the reason why City will not win it.

Leroy f**king Sane.

That man is a baller, an artist, a difference-maker and a make it happener. The two seasons he played, City got 100 points and won consecutive championships. The season he was injured, City fell 3000 points behind. The unwashed thinks the difference is Kompany, but Kompany was on decline. They will point to goals scored, without realising football is cause and effect. If the opposition feels they have a chance, they attack more and leave gaps for City to exploit.

When Leroy Muh Man Sane was playing, teams fear his unpredictability, his speed, his dribbling, his thrust. They won’t venture forward.

For Pep to sell him, to not even acknowledge this generational talent, is bad management. Klopp would’ve turned him into a Balon d’Or contender.

So keep kissing that Catalonian derriere, English Press. I’m saving this letter for my ‘Told you so’ moment.
VinniePee

 

It’s prediction time
As is traditional, tell me who will win the league.
Hard to see past Liverpool, in all honesty. While they haven’t really strengthened their squad, they didn’t really need to. If they replace Wijnaldum with Thiago then they should be laughing.

And the rest of the top four, in order. Which nobody ever gets right.
City (improved defence, weaker attack), Chelsea (much stronger all over but very difficult to integrate so many new signings), Spurs (this is looking like a very Jose team and I reckon this might be his swansong).

Three picks for relegation please
Villa (shaky at the back, not convinced about Watkins), West Ham (Moyes, innit), Fulham (not sure they’ve done enough to make that a Premier League squad).

Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
I can’t pick Leeds because there’s nothing pleasant about them, so I’ll plump for Southampton to finish in the top eight.

Who will win the Golden Boot?
Probably Aubameyang but not by much; Kane won’t stay fit enough, Salah might just have had his last season at the peak of his powers, and Aguero is starting to pick up too many injuries.

Which new signing will have the greatest positive impact?
Tough one, this, but I’m going to go for Ziyech. If he can perform to his best then he’s got a choice of three good goal-scorers to set up, in Werner, Abraham and Giroud. I can see loads of late Giroud headers from Ziyech assists winning Chelsea plenty of points.

And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
I’m going go close to home and say Donny van de Beek. I just don’t see it, I’m afraid. I fear he is going to turn out to be another Davy Klaassen and struggle to make any kind of meaningful impact in the Premier League. He wasn’t the type of midfielder we needed, in my opinion, and I can’t see him starting many games with Bruno and Pogba ahead of him. Tip of the hat to Ollie Watkins.

Who will be the biggest bloody bargain?
I’m going for Willian. Free transfer, albeit on ludicrous wages, but he’s still got a couple of good years left in him yet. I reckon he’ll hit double figures for goals and assists (all comps) for Arsenal this year.

Who will be named the PFA Player of the Year?
No idea, really, it’s such a lottery. Probably De Bruyne again.

First manager to leave their Premier League job?
It’s a toss-up between Moyes and Smith, for me. I’m going to go for Smith because they have paid a ludicrous amount for Ollie Watkins and I can’t see him getting above 10 goals this season.

Pick the Champions League winner.
Liverpool if they don’t win the league, Bayern otherwise.

In five words, tell us what you are most excited about this season.
Hopefully, a lot closer competition.
Ted, Manchester

 

…The Football365 season predictions are out so I have decided to have a go too..

Tell us who will win the league as it’s customary;
Arsenal cause I am an Arsenal fan, choosing any other team to win the league will be an act of treason(treason carries a capital punishment in most countries)

The rest of the top four, in order. Which nobody ever gets right
Man city, Liverpool , Chelsea

Three picks for relegation
West Brom to do a Norwich, Fulham and Aston Villa

Which club will do a pleasant surprise?
Arsenal for the aforementioned reason,Mikel Arteta and his Men to leave everyone in awe as they smash their way to the Premier and Europa League titles.

Who will win the Golden Boot?
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, it’s his job, it’s what he does best and also this will be his last Premier League season, what better way to leave if not by winning league while also be the top scorer?

Which new signing will have the greatest positive impact?
It just has to be Timo Werner, Chelsea have had a hard time replacing Costa and in Timo Werner they finally have their man.

And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
One thing with buying all the players you can lay your eyes on is while some turn out to be massive successes some on the other hand flop woefully and the man for that job is gonna be Kai Havertz, 71 million for that kind of average number of goals and assist in the Bundesliga is madness

Who will be the biggest bloody bargain?
I think Thaigo Silva on a free, it’s an absolute bargain

Who will be named the PFA Player of the Year?
Raheem Sterling – at some point he just has to win it

First manager to leave their Premier League job?
A close race between David Moyes and Scott Parker, I think Moyes will just nick at the end of November while Parker will go before Christmas

Pick the Champions League winner.
Juventus to beat Bayern 2-1 in the final

In five words, tell us what you are most excited about this season
Football almost every day of the week.
Jason Jace

 

…Who will win the league?
LIVERPOOL FC there will be a drop off there will be problems but the Challengers have bigger problems.

Rest of Top Four?
4.MAN UTD
3.CHELSEA
2.MAN CITY

Players of Manchester clubs getting into trouble… Sterling, Maguire, especially Greenwood and Foden disrespecting Southgate and the national team gives an insight into the mentality of players at these clubs.

Chelsea should challenge for the title… Have to win a trophy or Lamps gets the sack… Might be gone by December if results are not good or if things go really well could end up 2nd..Man City have a problem with their Gk sometimes let’s in soft goals .. Problem with their Defence… Problem with their midfield… Problem with Sterling psychologically frail…Still to recover from that bad miss…problem when aguero is out… And a problem with Guadiola… The pressure is on him.

Three picks for Relegation?
Aston Villa
West Brom
Fulham

Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
Not really a Surprise… Leeds… Newcastle… And Chelsea could finish second

Who will win the Golden Boot?
Can’t see Timo Werner adjusting to a new team with so many new signings in his first season in the Prem and being top GS… I say put your house on Aubameyang

Which new signing will turn out to be a massive flop?
Timo Werner will struggle first season… But absolutely tear it up next season.

Biggest bargain?
Adam Lallana

PFA player of the year?
TAA.
Donp LFC

 

…Champions: Liverpool. They were the best team by a mile last year and City hasn’t bought enough to bridge the gap.

Top 4: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea. City’s transfer dealings has not been good. Rodri and Gabriel Jesus needs an upgrade. Ake is barely an upgrade. Torres is one for the future. Still enough quality for 3rd. Chelsea needs some time to gel and lampard is not good enough for a title challenge.

Relegation: Fulham, and West Brom looks set to go back down immediately. Brighton still lack goals but their defense with Ben White back should be enough to keep them up over the shambles that is West Ham.

Surprise team: Leeds to finish in top half

Golden boot: Auba with 23 goals

Best signing: Castagne. Leicester would double his value in two seasons.

Worst signing: Callum Wilson is a waste of 20 million

Best bargain: Willian on a free transfer, just cramming Arsenal in somewhere.

Player of the year: gonna take a wild gamble here and say Sterling

First to get sacked: Sreve Bruce

Champions League winner: Bayern Munich

5 words to describe what you’re most excited for: Manchester United breaking penalties record

P.s. Arsenal has the best kits this year hands down. Meaning they will look good when City put 5 past them.
Roy (2 trophies in 2 attempts for Arteta) Song, Singapore

 

Chelsea, Chelsea
Imagine my relief, as a Chelsea fan, when I read Sarah Winterburn’s predictions.

Havertz will be the worst signing
Chelsea won’t get top four
Willan will be signing of the season

Last year the worst signing was going to Pulisic and Chelsea definitely weren’t getting top four.

Excellent.
Paul

 

The Battle Of The Managers
The answer to your question as to what to get most excited about in the coming season is for me the battle of the managers. Maybe interesting is the word rather than exciting though. I can’t remember when there was a better set of managers as a whole for teams in the top half of the PL. Klopp and Pep need no introduction, Ole and Lamps have already been reasonably successful and all the others have already been doing a good or excellent job. All of the managers face significant challenges of one sort or another and all have decent squads so the relative success of their clubs will depend on the difference in what the managers can get out of their squads (plus luck, injuries and VAR of course).

All the managers bar one (obvious) are relatively egoless, flexible as to playing formation and intelligent. (Have we finally seen the last of the Warnock, Holloway, Redknapp era?) So it’s a case of who manages best wins.
Ian ‘CFC) Hugo

 

Much adieu about nothing
Look, I don’t want to be pedantic, but after reading your side for what seems like 15 years I have been finally moved to write in. So all I wanted to say is that THAT was only nearly perfect.

To have been perfect it should have been placed at the end of the mail. Anyway, I feel I am making a big thing out of this so without further,

Adieu
Arena Bailer (it’s funny to me)

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