De Futebol Liverpool Blow Out West Ham 4-0

Liverpool blew away West Brom 4-0.  This is the start to the season the Reds were expecting.

EPL Match Report:” Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool started the 2018/19 Premier League with a 4-0 win over West Ham United, their 500th victory in the competition.

It was last season’s Golden Boot winner, Mohamed Salah, who opened the scoring 19 minutes in, tapping in from close range after Andrew Robertson’s pass.

Mane then slotted into an unguarded net after James Milner hooked the ball into the six-yard box in first-half stoppage time.

The Senegalese forward drilled in a third after turning on to Roberto Firmino’s pass soon after the break.

Daniel Sturridge then added a fourth late on with his very first touch after replacing Salah as a substitute, turning in from a corner.”

https://www.premierleague.com/match/38312

Burnley and Southampton tied nil-nil in the other match of the day.

De Futebol Spurs and Chelsea win!

Spurs opened up the new season with a resounding 2-1 win over Toons at St. James Park. All goals were scored in the first twenty minutes.

Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen’s header found its mark in the eighth minute. Newcastle’s Joselu header equalized in the eleventh minute to make it one all.

Dele Alli hit the match winner a brilliant header in the 18th minute to make it 2-1.

That was all she wrote as Spurs pick up the “W”.

Chelsea’s new man Sarri is victorious. The Blues blew out an over matched Huddersfield 3-0

Goals by Kante in the 34th minute, Jorginho’s holy roller PK in 45th minute and Pedro’s into deposit the back of the net in the 80thminute sealed the deal for Chelsea. Jorginho’s holy roller PK in 45th minute and Pedro’s into deposit the back of the net in the 80thminute sealed the deal for Chelsea.

Crystal Palace shut out newly promoted Fulham 2-0.

Watford blew out Brighton Hove and Albion 2-0.

Bournemouth laid to waste Cardiff City 2-0.

The Hornets Roberto Pereyra’s daily double 35th and 54th minute spelled doom for the Bluebirds.

“Wolverhampton Wanderers came from behind twice to draw 2-2 at home to 10-man Everton.” (EPL Match Report).

De Futebol Man U wins EPL opener!

Man U opens the season a nervy 2-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford.

EPL Match Report:” Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw scored as Manchester United kicked off the 2018/19 Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.

In his first appearance since winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France, Pogba captained Man Utd and took three minutes to score the first PL goal of the campaign, slotting in from the penalty spot after a handball from Daniel Amartey.

David De Gea produced superb saves from James Maddison and Demarai Gray to deny Leicester an equaliser.

Shaw made it 2-0, flicking the ball past Ricardo Pereira and producing a fine finish beyond Kasper Schmeichel with seven minutes remaining.

Jamie Vardy scored from close range in stoppage-time to set up an exciting finish, but Jose Mourinho’s side held on for the victory.

https://www.premierleague.com/match/38313

De Futebol Man U Season Preview!

The Guardians Jamie Jackson looks at the upcoming season for Man U.

“José Mourinho has been a discontented figure in recent weeks and the season must start well if they are to challenge City.

Guardian writers’ predicted position: 3rd (NB: this is not necessarily Jamie Jackson’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position: 2nd

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 7-1

Contretemps, a reluctant U-turn and the declaration: “I didn’t learn anything.” José Mourinho offered maximum José Mourinho during a Manchester United pre-season tour of the US that came close to farce.

The fascination now is just how United will begin their Premier League campaign after a five-game trip that took in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Santa Clara, Ann Arbor and Miami and ended with two wins, two draws and a defeat. A 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena has only further increased the Portuguese’s pessimism.

nited’s opening two outings are Old Trafford’s curtain raiser with Leicester and the journey to Brighton. These games are mentioned because of one of the oddest bits of discourse Mourinho offered up during the trip.

At United’s UCLA training base in LA he voiced concern that the 13 frontline players he flew to the States without due to post-World Cup breaks would render his side seriously disadvantaged.

Mourinho pointed to Leicester missing only Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy for this same reason and Brighton none. There was no mention of Leicester’s best player, Riyad Mahrez, being sold to Manchester City so severely weakening them, and he seemed to forget the smarts that have made him a serial winner and how he leads the juggernaut that is United.

Thus continued a theme that began at his opening media conference when he declared preparation for 2018-19 to be “very bad”. Those two words became Mourinho’s mantra when continually pointing to the missing footballers and lack of major transfers since Fred’s signing in June.

These complaints were the basis of Mourinho’s disputes, which, in turn, were fuelled by the pressure he is under. Although United finished second last season, a best since the 2012-13 title triumph, they trailed 19 points behind City.

His mission, then, for the season is clear: he has to make United true contenders and not allow another procession from City. Or, worse, be spectators in a City-Liverpool tussle as the latter look certain to challenge.

After losing to Bayern Munich 1-0 on Sunday Mourinho once again warned of a “difficult season”, again making pointed remarks about transfers. “My CEO knows what I want and I still have a few days to wait and see what happens. The other clubs who compete with us are really strong and already have fantastic teams. Or they are investing massively like Liverpool, who are buying everything and everybody. If we don’t make our team better, it will be a difficult season for us.”

The club have been linked with a move for Bayern’s Jérôme Boateng but Mourinho is also contending with injuries to Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia and Diogo Dalot, the 19-year-old full-back signed from Porto who might have replaced the latter if fit.

All of this throws up the question of whether Mourinho might again implode in classic third-season fashion as he previously did at Chelsea (twice) and Real Madrid.

Following the opening two matches United face Tottenham (home), Burnley, Watford (each away), Wolverhampton (h), West Ham (a), Newcastle (h), Chelsea (a), Everton (h) and Bournemouth (a). These 11 games take United to a date with City at the Etihad Stadium on 10 November. By then everyone should be available and, if Mourinho acquires a centre-back – Maguire is on the list alongside Boateng – his strongest XI might read: De Gea; Valencia/Dalot, Bailly, Maguire/Boateng, Young/Shaw; Fred, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sánchez.

A picture will have started to form regarding how United will fare, before a derby against the champions and opponents they must have ambitions of beating if they are to end United’s six-year championship drought. There are no guarantees if United depart east Manchester in a lofty position they will end in first place but, if they are in struggling mode, serious questions regarding Mourinho’s future will be aired.

Put simply, he has to keep United in the race until May. Last year they won nothing and Mourinho escaped serious scrutiny due to a second-place finish he could – and did – present as progression from a first season when United trailed in sixth, 24 points from the champions, Chelsea.

This season Mourinho has to prove he is the man to move the club on from the gilded Sir Alex Ferguson era: only claiming title No 21 or going mightily close will do. To achieve this United will have to take the early part of the campaign by storm as it will be a shock if City fail to do so.

Even if Maguire, Boateng or Internazionale’s Ivan Perisic (also on Mourinho’s list) are added, the window is still rated as middling. In this scenario the manager will have to look from within. Required will be a career-high season from Paul Pogba, who has thus far misfired for him, and from Alexis Sánchez, who was below par after joining in January.

A big question mark remains over the full-backs. Valencia and Ashley Young are 33 when the season starts and whether the untested Dalot and the enigma that is Luke Shaw can step up and help elevate United is debatable.

Anthony Martial’s future is another imponderable. He has seriously fallen out with the manager and following the birth of his child faces disciplinary action for failing to train. If it seems certain Martial will leave – both parties wish this – should Mourinho fail to sign an attacker, and the Frenchman does not get his move, pragmatism means he may be seen in United colours again.

The situation is a mess. So, too, was the tour. Mourinho has to ensure the season does not go the same way. If it does, he may be relieved of his duties and United will require a fourth new manager in six years.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/aug/07/premier-league-2018-19-preview-manchester-united

De Futebol Liverpool Season Preview

Let’s take a look at the upcoming Liverpool season.

The Guardians Andy Hunter:” Jürgen Klopp has spent big to address the weaknesses exposed in the Champions League final and the squad looks well equipped to challenge Manchester City for the title.

Guardian writers’ predicted position: 2nd (NB: this is not necessarily Andy Hunter’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position: 4th

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 4-1

Jürgen Klopp did not rise to José Mourinho’s assertion that there is “a demand” on Liverpool to challenge for the title for two reasons. One is that he finds Mourinho’s age-old attempts at mind games amusing and an established part of the Premier League show. The other is that he fully accepts the demand to furnish his Anfield reign with silverware this season. Having invested over £170m in a squad that reached the Champions League final three months ago, Klopp cannot and does not shy from an expectation he has created.

“It is the next step,” the Liverpool manager admitted, before his Manchester United rival spoke of Klopp’s U-turn on heavy spending and the pressure to deliver Anfield’s first league title since 1990. Klopp is more equivocal on what might constitute “the next step”. More points, more outstanding performances and an improvement on last season’s fourth-placed finish would all represent evidence of sustained progress, he has explained. But the Liverpool manager knows his third full season will be measured by trophies and providing the strongest challenge to Manchester City’s title defence. “I am really looking forward to the season,” he said. The enthusiasm is shared by all at Anfield.

A formidable obstacle stands in the way of Liverpool and that elusive 19th league championship. It is the team they have beaten three times in competitive fixtures this calendar year: Pep Guardiola’s champions. City’s hopes of an unbeaten league campaign and first Champions League triumph were both shattered by Liverpool last season, the latter courtesy of a 5-1 aggregate defeat in the quarter-finals, yet they finished 25 points clear of Klopp’s side, winning the title by a record 19-point margin and becoming the first team in English top-flight history to reach 100 points.

A dramatic regression on the champions’ part and progression on Liverpool’s is required to stop City becoming the first club to retain the Premier League title since United in 2008-09. It is testament to Klopp’s rebuilding work since October 2015, last season’s exhilarating run to the Champions League final and a productive summer in the transfer market that his squad appear supremely well-equipped to honour their side of the deal.

No Premier League club has spent more in the close season than Liverpool who, with the £75m acquisition of Virgil van Dijk in January, have invested £250m in Klopp’s squad in 2018. They also sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January for a fee that could rise to £142m. Record investment levels bring no guarantee of success but the areas strengthened, combined with the club’s recent track record on transfers under Klopp, the sporting director, Michael Edwards, and the scouts Barry Hunter and Dave Fallows, fuel already lofty ambitions.

A dramatic regression on the champions’ part and progression on Liverpool’s is required to stop City becoming the first club to retain the Premier League title since United in 2008-09. It is testament to Klopp’s rebuilding work since October 2015, last season’s exhilarating run to the Champions League final and a productive summer in the transfer market that his squad appear supremely well-equipped to honour their side of the deal.

No Premier League club has spent more in the close season than Liverpool who, with the £75m acquisition of Virgil van Dijk in January, have invested £250m in Klopp’s squad in 2018. They also sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January for a fee that could rise to £142m. Record investment levels bring no guarantee of success but the areas strengthened, combined with the club’s recent track record on transfers under Klopp, the sporting director, Michael Edwards, and the scouts Barry Hunter and Dave Fallows, fuel already lofty ambitions.

In signing Naby Keïta, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson the Liverpool manager has addressed longstanding concerns about his squad’s ability to make that next step. Those concerns – goalkeeper, midfield and strength in depth – were all exposed on the unforgiving stage of the Champions League final in Kiev.

Keïta was secured from RB Leipzig 12 months ago for an eventual fee of £52.75m, a club record at the time. Liverpool paid a premium over his £48m release clause to beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich to the midfielder’s signature. Early impressions suggest Keïta is worth the wait. The quality of his distribution is as impressive as his strength and movement in the centre of midfield.

Such dynamism was lacking towards the end of last season when Liverpool were stretched to the limit by injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Emre Can. Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to feature this season as he recovers from multiple knee ligament damage. Can’s free transfer to Juventus is more of a financial setback to Liverpool.

Fabinho brings more European experience and title-winning pedigree from Monaco, where he played as both a defensive midfielder and right-back. Klopp has deployed the Brazilian in midfield during pre-season and admits that the £43.7m signing needs time to adapt to Liverpool’s style. His arrival increases the competition on Jordan Henderson, whose requests for an early return to pre-season training after the World Cup were rejected.

Of the outfield signings only Shaqiri arrives with question marks following criticism of his work-rate during Stoke City’s losing fight against relegation. For a £13m release fee, however, it is worth seeing how he responds to a manager who does not indulge individuals. When Klopp looked at his options to replace Salah in Kiev he had a choice of Lallana, who was not match fit, or Dominic Solanke. That is why Shaqiri makes sense. His ability to play across the front-line improves the manager’s game-changing options considerably. How he adjusts to not having a guaranteed starting role is the more pertinent question.

It is in goal, of course, where Klopp has made the most important and long-awaited change. The optimism would be laced with nagging doubt had Liverpool approached the season with Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet still vying for the No 1 spot. Instead the jersey belongs to Alisson, the most expensive goalkeeper in the world at £65m from Roma.

Liverpool first inquired about the Brazil international’s availability in January and were immediately dismissed. They were then quoted £90m in May, £75m in June and stalled their pursuit until Roma indicated there was room for negotiation. By then Karius had made a weak start to pre-season, although Klopp has since confirmed that victory in the Champions League final would not have been enough to divert his gaze from Alisson.The 25-year-old did not make one mistake that led to a goal against Roma in the league last season. A save percentage of 79.3% was bettered only by Jan Oblak of Atlético Madrid (82.7%) and David de Gea (80.3%), while his excellent distribution – a quality both Mignolet and Karius lack – promises to quicken Liverpool’s attacking play. Should Alisson prove as successful as Liverpool’s last purchase from Roma, there will be a solid foundation to the anticipated title challenge.

Klopp’s confidence is based not only on new faces. Targets have been secured early, unlike last year when he was forced to delay deals for Keïta and Van Dijk. There has been no uncertainty surrounding the future of key players with Salah and Firmino both committing to new five-year contracts and Sadio Mané expected to follow suit. Salah and Firmino have doubled their weekly wage to around £200,000 while Liverpool will proceed with a new £50m training complex at Kirkby. The club is investing in the long term.

Salah has looked fit and a class apart in pre-season and youngsters like Curtis Jones and Rafael Camacho have seized their opportunities to impress. The only hiccup of the summer was the aborted £53m move for the Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir. Regardless, the range and quality of options now available to the Liverpool manager are the strongest Anfield has witnessed for some time. The demands have increased also. Klopp has no problem with that.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/aug/06/premier-league-2018-19-preview-liverpool

De Futebol Arsenal A look at the New Season

Let’s look at the upcoming season for Arsenal

The Guardians Jacob Steinberg:” Arsène Wenger has gone, Unai Emery is in charge and it is time for a new dawn to begin. It could be bumpy at the start and fans have no option but to trust in the new man.

Guardian writers’ predicted position: 5th (NB: this is not necessarily Jacob Steinberg’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position: 6th

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 20-1

The first thing to make clear is that the man charged with reviving Arsenal is not the Spanish equivalent of David Moyes. The second is that for any comparison with Manchester United’s struggle to adapt to life after Sir Alex Ferguson to hold, Arsène Wenger would have had to leave his successor a title-winning team, rather than one that failed to win an away game in 2018 until the final day of last season.

If Unai Emery’s task is daunting, it is only because the previous boss was well past his glorious peak. Whereas United’s travails since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 have exposed their structural failings, the unfortunate truth is that decay had taken hold at Arsenal long before the announcement of Wenger’s departure on 20 April. The folly of telling the Wenger Out brigade to be careful what they wished for whenever dissatisfaction rose had become impossible to ignore.

How, after all, did it make sense for Arsenal to turn a blind eye to Wenger’s decline simply because United hired Moyes? It was a disingenuous argument, a counterproductive way of thinking and a waste of time. As long as the status quo remained in place, there was no way for Arsenal to make real progress.

The price of inertia is that the squad Wenger left behind was the worst of his 22-year reign, which at least means that Emery can start with expectations at a realistic level. Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification again last season and they will have to re-establish themselves in the top four before thinking about winning their first title since 2004.

That explains why there was little grumbling when Wenger left with a year remaining on his contract. It will be strange not to see the Frenchman in the dugout when Manchester City visit the Emirates on the opening weekend but the time had come for Arsenal to innovate – and it is telling that Emery’s title is head coach, with Raúl Sanllehí and Sven Mislintat placed in charge of transfers. This project is Ivan Gazidis’s baby. The club’s chief executive, who was linked with a move to Milan last week, finds himself in a strong position in north London, having found a manager willing to work under his structure.

Crucially, Arsenal have had a while to adjust. Emery was in place less than a fortnight after Wenger’s final game, allowing the Spaniard a full summer to work with his new squad, and it will be fascinating to see if the 46-year-old is capable of invigorating a team who have been crying out for more direction. Vague tactics have led to Arsenal becoming flimsy, immature and prone to collapse at the first sign of trouble.

While it might have been braver for them to press ahead with their early interest in Mikel Arteta, who has received quite the education as part of Pep Guardiola’s entourage at City, it is worth keeping in mind that the 36-year-old would have been learning on the job. Could Arsenal afford a gamble when they have already fallen so far behind their rivals? Not when Emery was regarded as the safer choice.

Perhaps that does not reflect too well on Arsenal. They have gone for experience but they have not appointed a sure thing. Emery is not a genius like Guardiola, a forceful personality like Jürgen Klopp or a ruthless winner like José Mourinho. He has won more than Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri, true, but even his achievement of leading Paris Saint-Germain to a domestic treble last season comes with the caveat that he lost the title to Monaco in his first season in France and made no impression in the Champions League.

Equally, however, PSG’s financial advantage can magnify their setbacks. Perhaps it was the wrong fit for Emery. His reputation as a demanding football obsessive might have stopped him from connecting with PSG’s egotists but it has helped him flourish in less suffocating environments. The experience of achieving three consecutive Europa League triumphs at Sevilla should prove helpful as Arsenal prepare for another Thursday-Sunday schedule.

Above all, Arsenal have turned to a coach who will work relentlessly on his players’ weaknesses, which should benefit stagnating youngsters such as Héctor Bellerín, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi. There will be more intensity and Emery, who seems likely to favour a 4-2-3-1 system, has spoken about shifting the emphasis from dominating possession to showing remorseless hunger off the ball.

A new Arsenal are gradually starting to take form. There has been no major clear-out yet – Jack Wilshere has moved to West Ham after being told his opportunities would be limited and Santi Cazorla has returned to Villarreal in search of a fresh start – but the tweaks Emery has made so far show where he wants to improve.

The arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner, the experienced Swiss right-back, on a free transfer from Juventus should harden a naive side, while Arsenal have looked to toughen their soft centre with the £17.7m signing of the Greece centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund and the £26.5m signing of the talented Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria. Bernd Leno is expected to take the No1 spot from Petr Cech after joining from Bayer Leverkusen for £19.2m, while Mattéo Guendouzi, a 19-year-old French midfielder, is one for the future after signing for £7m from Lorient.

That, however, is that as far as new signings are concerned. Funds are limited, meaning that Arsenal have required a focused approach, and Emery could find himself itching to replace a few members of his squad soon.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette could form a potent partnership in attack, Aaron Ramsey offers goals and energy from midfield and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Konstantinos Mavropanos showed promise last season. However, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil are not as consistent as their equivalents elsewhere, Danny Welbeck has struggled to stay fit, Granit Xhaka can be rash in central midfield, Shkodran Mustafi has toiled at centre-back, Laurent Koscielny is injured and Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal are unconvincing options at left-back. There are holes to fill and a lack of quality depth.

Framed in that way, Emery has his work cut out and it remains to be seen if Arsenal have made up enough ground on their rivals. These, ultimately, are uncertain times in north London and it will only take a couple of bad results for people to start questioning the wisdom of parting with Wenger. But there is no going back, no room for doubt or panic, even if it is painful at first. In Ivan, Raúl, Sven and Unai they have to trust. They have no other option.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/jul/30/premier-league-2018-19-preview-arsenal-unai-emery

De Futebol Expectations are High for Liverpool This Year

Liverpool’s headman Jurgen Klopp expects a ton from the guys this year accord to The Guardians Andy Hunter.
“Liverpool’s manager knows that after a summer of lavish spending the club needs to start winning trophies

You probably won’t like this question,” Jürgen Klopp is forewarned. There is usually no “probably” about it. Usually any question that looks beyond the next game or requires a prediction from the Liverpool manager prompts a disappointed frown and curt reply but this time is different. This time Klopp accepts it must be different. The question, of course, is whether Liverpool have to end this season not only with progress, positivity and memories of some genuinely thrilling performances but with the first silverware of his Anfield reign? “You are right and people will say that,” he admits. “It is the next step.”

There is expectation on Liverpool every summer, as there should be. Questions about that elusive Premier League title are an annual feature of pre-season. This summer they carry greater weight. Having rebuilt expectation over the course of his three seasons as Liverpool manager, and invested over £170m on new talent ahead of the fourth, Klopp cannot and does not shy away from the demand that has intensified on him and his players. There is no frown as Klopp elaborates at length on the aims for a campaign that he is relishing.

“It would be the next step and we need to be ready for that,” he continues. “I cannot give guarantees here but I understand if people think that. I know about the expectations and that is completely normal. First of all we have to play the football that gives us an opportunity to win something. We cannot talk about winning something before we start the season. Football is not like cycling so we have lost a lot of things. The other day I put on a session and had to stop it and start again. I was: ‘Four players, one row, that’s how we defend.’ It’s not that the boys wanted to do it a different way but there’s a big change at this moment – new players coming in from another club, players in after a long time out; you are starting new more or less. When you have the complete team together you can build on the basis a little bit more. I am confident we can build on last season. It’s not that we lost things completely but you have to work on it to get it back. The football the boys played last year was not easy. There was a lot of work invested into playing like that. That’s what we will do again. I am not in doubt about our basis or that we will reach it again. I want to have the best start ever but we all know that something can happen and then everything is questioned in a second. I don’t want to prepare anyone for a bad start because I don’t want to have one but it is possible, I cannot ignore that completely.

“I am in for the start of a third season and in each season there was one period when people questioned me or our progress. In the end it was OK. I am prepared for these moments. I don’t want to have them but I don’t go nuts in these moments. We need to work with the different situations of the players. The new players will make us stronger 100%. How? By starting, coming from the bench, the depth of the squad, whatever. We will see that but it does not happen on the first day.

“This week we play [Manchester] City and United and, if you win, people say: ‘Fantastic!’ and, if you lose, people say: ‘Wow, what did they do in pre-season?’ So it is all about staying calm, looking at the situation, judging it right and then make the step. I am confident and we will be confident but in pre-season you cannot really get the squad you want because they are not together and we will not go with 40 players next year. At some point we need to have the group that we will work with for the next year.”

Optimism would be rife at Anfield even without a successful transfer window that has seen Liverpool strengthen in key areas at considerable expense. The Brazil international Alisson, signed for a world record fee for a goalkeeper of £65m, Naby Keïta, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri have all been bought for more money than Klopp spent in his seven years at Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool opened their pre-season tour of the United States with a 3-1 defeat by the German’s former club in Charlotte on Sunday, once again fielding a team that will be unrecognisable from the side that starts the Premier League opener against West Ham United, and face City in New Jersey on Wednesday and United in Michigan on Saturday.

Liverpool’s belief is built on more than lavish spending. Last season’s exhilarating run to the Champions League final, Mohamed Salah’s record-breaking debut campaign of 44 goals and a defence bolstered by the £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk, plus the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold and blossoming of Andy Robertson, are significant factors.

An unbeaten home league record last season and scoring four or more goals in 14 matches – the most in 121 years – provide more. Now, with midfield options multiplied and the long-running, costly goalkeeping problem acknowledged, expectation carries a demand. Klopp accepts that means silverware, although insists progress is measured in various ways.

“More can be that we have more points or where we would be in the table, I have no clue,” says the Liverpool manager. “More could be that we play more often our best football, though we have no influence on how the other teams play against each other. Other teams, of course, will do transfer business as well. They will not be weaker than last year. City brought in Mahrez. I did not hear that they lost one player so far. So it means the quality of last year plus Mahrez. That’s a nice plan as well. United will go for it too and that’s completely normal. We expect more from ourselves. We will go again for the championship and each kind of cup but that does not mean I can sit here and say we will get it. We have the highest ambitions, 100%.”

Despite ending City’s unbeaten league sequence and swatting them aside 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-final the reality, one that cuts into the feelgood factor at Anfield, is that Liverpool finished 25 points behind Pep Guardiola’s champions last season. They also took one point fewer than in 2016-17 as Klopp navigated a route to Kiev while unable to rotate his midfield due to several injuries. Liverpool also finished behind Tottenham Hotspur and United despite losing two games fewer than both. Twelve draws, compared with United’s six and Spurs’ eight, represent an obvious area for improvement.

“It is, of course, consistency,” claims Klopp, when asked how Liverpool take that next step and bridge the gap with City. “It is not just that we have to be more consistent, we have to create circumstances where we can be more consistent. Nobody is consistent with 11 players. What we are working on is the depth of the squad because you need it. The first part of last season when we did the rotation and we were quite active with it, I think we did six or seven changes from one game or the other, we still had quality on the pitch that felt perfect. As long as you could do that it was really good. We need to make sure we can do that much longer over the season and that is only possible if you have the squad.

“I really loved having Curtis Jones, [Rafael] Camacho and Ben Woodburn around at the last part of the season but it wouldn’t have been fair to throw them in and expect them to do something when it is too important.”

City’s flying start to last season put them in effect beyond Liverpool’s reach before Klopp’s team found their rhythm. The Liverpool manager believes the World Cup, and the involvement until the latter stages of several players from his club, City, Spurs and United, could hinder a repeat by any of the title contenders.

“The first games are absolutely important,” he says. “I don’t ask for an easy way. I think City had more players in the semis than we had, Tottenham for sure, so it’s not that we have the biggest problems. But it’s not like the good old times when you had your squad for six weeks in pre-season and spent one week team-building by going to a forest in Sweden with nothing to eat, like I did when I was young. That’s not possible any more.

“We are used to these circumstances. We have West Ham and Crystal Palace to start with and that’s tough enough. I don’t know how many players West Ham had at the World Cup but they are signing player after player and they will be a new team for sure. It’s a tough start, as the Premier League always is, but I am fine with that.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jul/23/jurgen-klopp-liverpool-premier-league-ambitions