Liverpool FC said on Thursday that the club would get the Premier League season under way on Friday when they take on newly-promoted Norwich City at Anfield.
Juergen Klopp’s side went unbeaten at home through the entire league season, with their one loss coming to Manchester City, who pipped them by one point to claim the title.
City, the bookmakers’ favourites again, will travel to West Ham in their opener on Saturday while Chelsea, with Frank Lampard in charge, will be travelling to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
However, the focus would be at Anfield, where European champions Liverpool were expected to go one better than last season and win the title for the first time since 1990.
While other teams had so far invested heavily in the transfer market, Klopp’s focus had been on his existing squad, a squad he believe was good enough to compete again this season.
“We invested in the team last season. We have the team, now let’s work with the team and see what we can do at the end of the season. New players are never the only solution.
“You should never do transfers because other clubs are doing transfers. That makes no sense, it’s not about that.
“If you sit back for a second and have a look at the squad, do we need more players,“Klopp said.
According to Klopp, Sadio Mane is a doubt after returning late from international duty with Senegal, we check on James Milner, who missed the Community Shield defeat by Manchester City with a muscle injury.
However, by and large, Klopp had a full squad from which to choose from, including defender Joe Gomez, who believes “Fortress Anfield“ will again play a crucial part for Liverpool this season.
“The atmosphere they set makes it very difficult for people to come to Anfield.
“Hopefully it’s something we can continue. If we do that this year, I’m sure we’ll be in a good place,“ Gomez told newsmen.
Meanwhile, Champions City had new signings Joao Cancelo and Rodri in their starting line-up for their trip to West Ham.
Aymeric Laporte was also available again after he missed the Community Shield, but Leroy Sane is out through injury.
The biggest match of the weekend could be at Old Trafford on Sunday when Manchester United and Chelsea go head to head.
While United had so far spent big this summer, splashing out 80 million pounds (100 million dollars) alone for defender Harry Maguire, Chelsea have lost their star man in Eden Hazard.
However, with their record goalscorer Lampard returning to the club to take over as manager, optimism is high that they can contest the title race once more.
United midfielder Juan Mata played with Lampard at Chelsea and feels the former England player will be a success.
“I am sure he is ready for it,” Mata said. “He is a good friend and I wish him the best, but not in the opening game.
“It will be a difficult challenge in the first game of the season, playing against Chelsea, who have a new project, a new manager, some changes in the squad.
“If we can win that game then it’d be the perfect start and the fans can feel the excitement of a new season,“ Gomez said.
The other two newly-promoted sides, Sheffield United and Aston Villa, were both away, with United at Bournemouth and Villa travelling to Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal are also on the road, at Newcastle, while Crystal Palace face Everton, Leicester play Wolves, Burnley entertain Southampton and Watford host Brighton.(dpa/NAN)https://nnn.ng/liverpool-to-kick-off-new-season-as-man-city-go-to-west-ham/
Liverpool’s Wilson extends Bournemouth loan deal
Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson has extended his loan agreement with Bournemouth to stay at the Vitality Stadium until the end of the season, the Premier League clubs said on Monday.
Wilson’s initial deal was set to expire at the end of this month.https://nnn.ng/liverpools-wilson-extends-bournemouth-loan-deal/
Liverpool mayor says Everton FC should host Merseyside derby
Runaway English Premier League (EPL) leaders Liverpool should face Everton at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby instead of the game being switched to a neutral venue.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson, who said this on Sunday, disclosed that local authorities can now provide a safe environment for the game.
Liverpool will resume their quest for a first top flight title in 30 years against Everton on June 21.
But the venue for the behind-closed-doors fixture was not confirmed when the league released its revised fixtures for the season’s restart.
Last month, police chiefs had advocated that the match should be played at a neutral venue to prevent fans from congregating outside the stadium.
They said this would have led to violating social distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re in a better place than we were four weeks ago and we’ve been able to convey why it’s so important nobody congregates outside or near grounds,” Anderson said.
“We’ve had the opportunity since then to speak to fans and the clubs have done their part and got the message across that the supporters need to stay away.
“Both clubs have made it clear. (Liverpool manager) Juergen Klopp has made it clear.
Liverpool, 25 points clear with nine games left, need six points to guarantee winning the league.
Anderson said Merseyside police had also given the nod for the derby to take place at Goodison Park.
“Merseyside police have made it clear they support the derby going ahead and they are the ones responsible for policing outside the ground and maintaining social distancing,” he added.
Liverpool will not ease up after sealing EPL title —- Klopp
Liverpool will not ease up in their nine remaining English Premier League (EPL) games even after they secure the wins they need, manager Juergen Klopp said.
Liverpool are seeking to seal a first top flight crown in 30 years.
“It’s nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that,” Klopp said.
“We know we’re close, but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all.
“We don’t want to stop winning after two games …”
The league was suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic, with teams returning to training in small groups before voting last week to return to contact training.
“I have missed it so much it’s unbelievable,” Klopp added.
“I know it’s not the most important thing in life but it is my passion. I hope the people are looking forward to it because we are.”
Liverpool preparing for shorter break between seasons, Klopp says
The Premier League hopes to restart the 2019/2020 season —- which usually ends in May —- next month.
With nine rounds of fixtures remaining, the season will spill over into at least July, while the 2020/2021 campaign was set to begin on Aug. 8.
“Today we started with training, good things, not the highest intensity. But the boys look in good shape,” Klopp said.
“We don’t know exactly how long we have, but we have some time to prepare the rest of this season and already the next season because I don’t think there will be a massive break between the two.
“We don’t know exactly but we should prepare for a rather shorter break between the two seasons.”
The league has set June 12 as a tentative date for a restart of action and Klopp said players would be thrust straight into action without playing friendly matches.
“It’s a pre-season for us. We don’t know how long and we will not have test games or friendlies,” he added.
Clubs are scheduled to meet next week when the league will decide on whether they can move to the next phase of training that involves contact.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)