Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

Liverpool looks to continue recent dominance

After claiming the Premiere League title in 2020, Liverpool looks to 2021

After 30 years of close calls, painful decline and missed opportunities since their last first-division title, Liverpool won the Premier League in 2020. It was the first time the club has done so since the league was founded, replacing the first-division, in 1992. Following their dominant 18-point margin of victory last season, Liverpool will begin this campaign featuring one of the world’s best managers in Jürgen Klopp, a roster filled to the brim with world-class talent and one of the most lucrative television deals in professional sports. 

However, because of the now-familiar influx of some of the world’s best players into teams across the Premier League, which has generated tremendous excitement across England, Liverpool’s quest to defend their title will be no easy task. 

Whether or not Liverpool needs to make a splash during this offseason is a point of contention among fans as the club unquestionably rolls over a strong squad from last year. Despite this, Liverpool supporters have been vocal in their belief that some reinforcements are necessary if their club hopes to repeat last years’ success. While rumors have floated over the potential signing of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich, Liverpool’s only acquisition thus far has been that of Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas. Tsimikas’ role will be limited, as he is  likely to backup the more well-versed Andrew Robertson.

Undoubtedly the biggest winners of the transfer window thus far have been Chelsea, who spent big following the expiration of their transfer ban. Chelsea has secured the services of two Germans: 24-year-old Timo Werner and 21-year-old Kai Havertz. Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech, Brazilian veteran defender Thiago Silva and England and Leicester defender Ben Chilwell have also joined the ever-formidable club. Chelsea’s signings provide much needed star power and veteran experience to bolster Frank Lampard’s young and inexperienced squad. The serious question mark regarding the club-record signing and world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, remains. Kepa endured a torrid campaign last season, as he was replaced on numerous occasions by his 38-year-old backup, Willy Caballero.

Manchester City and Pep Guardiola have characteristically flexed their Emirati war chest in a bid to return to the top of the Premier League following the departure of David Silva who left on a free-transfer to Real Sociedad. City acquired Nathan Ake from the recently relegated Bournemouth to bolster their fragile defense. The young Spaniard who spent last season with Valencia, Ferran Torres, is another strong addition to this already-dominant attacking force led by world-great Kevin De Bruyne. 

Although the rumored blockbuster arrival of Jaden Sancho from Borussia Dortmund has failed to materialize (as of yet), Manchester United have signed Donny Van de Beek from Ajax to add to an already star-studded midfield. However, defensive frailties, as well as the ongoing legal saga related to captain Harry Maguire — who ran afoul of Greek authorities while on vacation in Mykonos — threaten to disrupt United’s progress. 

Eager to move on from last season’s struggles are those at Tottenham. Manager José Mourinho begins his first full season with the club following last year’s disastrous campaign which saw the departure of longtime manager, Mauricio Pochettino. Joining the club is Wolves fullback Matt Doherty and Danish international midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg. Højbjerg, Mourinho hopes, will help to shore up a defense that will greatly miss the talismanic Belgian, Jan Vertonghen.

Spurs’s North London Rivals, Arsenal, have also bolstered their defense with the signing of Brazilian center-back, Gabriel Paulista, from Lille, along with William Sadiba, who joins the Gunners after a year on loan with Saint-Éttiene. And while the winger, Willian Borges da Silva, who joined on a free transfer from rival Chelsea should answer some questions on offense, if Arsenal hope to climb the table this season they must sign star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new deal.

Entering the Premier League are three familiar clubs. In the case of Leeds United, the familiarity is more of historic relevance than recent success. Managed by Marcelo Bielsa, architect of the high-press and aptly nicknamed “El Loco” style-of-play, Leeds are returning to the Premier League for the first time since being relegated in 2004. During the summer, Leeds spent big, securing the services of Spanish international, Rodrigo Moreno Machado, for a club record fee upwards of $34 million. The signing took place alongside a variety of other upgrades during the offseason, intended to make Leeds’s promotion last. 

Leeds also chose to re-sign Jack Harrison for a third successive loan spell from Manchester City, meaning the former Wake Forest player, who scored eight goals and had 11 assists in his lone All American season with the Demon Deacons, will finally get a chance to ply his trade in the Premier League.

Joining Leeds as newly promoted sides are Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, who both spent much of the 2010s in the Premier League before suffering relegation in 2019 and 2018 respectively.  

With Fulham and Arsenal opening this season this Saturday at 7:30 a.m., new talent, established stars and challengers to Liverpool’s throne are sure to make this season one to remember for players and fans alike.