Though manager Jurgen Klopp is trying to keep a lid on expectations, Anfield is brimming with excitement that Liverpool could finally end a near three decade wait to be crowned champions of England as a new season gets underway.
The Reds were the Premier League’s biggest spenders in a reported £170-million splurge this summer, and fans around the world genuinely expect them to gun for the title.
Often outgunned by the riches of fierce rivals Manchester United and the oil-backed wealth of Chelsea and Manchester City in recent times, this summer Liverpool were the Premier League’s biggest spenders in a reported £170-million splurge.
“We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League and to be as successful as possible,” Klopp said on Friday.
While key players Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino signed new contracts at the club, they’ve brought in Brazil’s No 1 Alisson Becker and midfielders Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri to give the squad depth.
Klopp however feels champions Manchester City – who they thrashed 5-1 over two legs in the Champions League quarterfinals – remain the team to beat.
“The champions are Manchester City; they didn’t lose any player and they brought in (Riyad) Mahrez, so that doesn’t make them weaker,” warned Klopp, insisting Liverpool are still the underdogs.
“We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more and fight more -– that must be our attitude.”
Club legend Jamie Carragher captured the mood succinctly in The Telegraph, where he wrote: “Liverpool have waited 28 years. Not just for the league title, but for a pre-season where so many pundits and supporters believe they can win it.”
Even the legendary Pele jumped on the Liverpool bandwagon on Friday in support of countrymen Alisson and Firmino.
“I think it’s the year of Liverpool, Alisson and Firmino!” the Brazilian great tweeted.
Having spent nearly three years surpassing expectations under Klopp, it seems the time has come to meet them.