EPL Preview: Can Liverpool finally walk alone?

EPL Preview: Can Liverpool finally walk alone?
Liverpool celebrate their Champions League triumph during a bus parade. - Reuters file

Dubai - The six-time European champions host promoted Norwich City at Anfield in the season opener on Friday night



By James Jose

Published: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 9:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 11:57 PM

11.7 millimetres and a single point. Those were the fine margins by which Liverpool agonisingly missed out on a 19th English league title last season.
Liverpool, one of the most storied clubs steeped in history, have endured a long hiatus, 29 years to be precise, for the domestic crown.
This season marks three decades of that wait. Since Jurgen Klopp took over the reins, the Reds have come close but have again come up short. History has somehow contrived to deny Liverpool that elusive title.
After a not so long off-season, the Premiership will roar back to life again when a ball will be kicked in anger at the cauldron that is Anfield on Friday night.
Amidst the cacophony from the Kop, Liverpool will be hoping to hit the ground running again when they host promoted Norwich City.
As far as title rivalries go, the past has been littered with many and Liverpool and Manchester City seem to be creating one of their own.
Last season's title run went down the wire and into the final day in May before City nicked it by a point. The turning point though had come at the turn of the year in January, when Liverpool suffered their first and only defeat, to City at the Etihad Stadium.
It was a contentious one at that, with defender John Stones lunging forward to clear it off the line following a deflection off his own goalkeeper Ederson. Had the ball been 11.7 millimetres in, it would have been a goal for Liverpool and the script would have been different.
But Lady Luck would have none of it and deserted them and the rub of the green was on Pep Guardiola's Cityzens.
Other side would have been left demoralised, but not Liverpool. The Reds more than made up for the disappointment to be crowned the 'Kings of Europe' after seeing off fellow English foes Tottenham in the Champions League final.
If last season is anything to go by, it all points to a repeat between the two clubs this term. Both Klopp and Guardiola, have instilled a different brand of football from the rest and their tactical nous has been second to none.
Klopp made famous his 'heavy metal' football and Spaniard Guardiola is on the same page as the German. They are competitors but there is also mutual admiration. And that adds that interesting sub-plot to the rivalry.
A precursor to their rivalry this season came last weekend in the Community Shield, with penalties separating the two sides.
Liverpool were pretty low-key during the transfer window and while most would think that they perhaps missed a trick by not signing any big names, in hindsight, the acquisition of 17-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg was a smart piece of business.
Liverpool have all bases covered and Berg's signing is with a view on the future.
"You should go to Everton, I think they are more busy!" Klopp said referring to their Merseyside rivals.
Liverpool and City are operating on a totally different level to the rest with them being almost bullet-proof. With Manchester United and Chelsea in the midst of a transition, the pretenders to the throne will be Tottenham and perhaps even Arsenal.
Liverpool have a frantic schedule starring at them with the Uefa Super Cup, the Fifa Club World Cup and the Champions League apart from the EPL.
But as their anthem goes: 'You'll Never Walk Alone,' they will be hoping that they will be walking alone, next May, trophy aloft.
james@khaleejtimes.com
 


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