If you spoke to the average Liverpool fan in the street and asked them about the outlook for the new season, you’ll probably have received a positive assessment lately. Of course, it’s often a criticism levelled at Liverpool fans that they get too wide-eyed and optimistic before a new campaign begins. But, stopping short of saying “this time it’s different”, there is a sense that progress is being made and, crucially, last season’s momentum has been maintained throughout the summer.
However, is a reality that all Liverpool fans must accept – for the moment anyway. Namely, that Manchester City are overwhelming favourites for the title. Their odds, coming in at around 4/6 with most bookies, are among the shortest in history for an ante-post Premier League season. Frankly – despite our good results against them last season – it’s going to be tough to rein in Pep Guardiola’s men.
Reds’ odds cut after solid transfer business
In saying that, bookmakers feel that the Reds are the most likely side to take the crown from City. In fact, Liverpool’s odds have been moving in a downward trajectory over the summer. It might not seem much in real terms, but before the World Cup you could find Liverpool at around 5/1 – they are now 4/1 with the majority of the main UK bookmakers, but as low as 3/1 with 10Bet. Regardless of who you bet with, be sure to check out free bets for this season at thebookiesoffers.co.uk.
Incidentally, Manchester United are priced as big as 10/1 (Black Type) to win the league, which is by far the biggest odds they have been given before a campaign kicks off. In contrast to Liverpool, United’s odds have pushed longer during the summer (they were around 6/1 a month ago), partly due to a (relative) lack of spending in the transfer market and the usual doom-mongering from Jose Mourinho.
So, what are the factors to have caused Liverpool’s odds to shorten over the last six weeks? It’s a couple of things really: there is a consensus that Liverpool’s signings have been both shrewd and ambitious; performances in friendlies, although not always a good indicator of form, have been positive. There is also the simple explanation that Liverpool’s rivals – City, United, Spurs, Chelsea – have not improved their squads with quite the same emphasis as the Reds.
Rather than make assumptions about how the title race will go, it might be better to measure Liverpool’s summer as one with which demonstrable progress has been made. Klopp and the board have zeroed in on areas of concern in the squad and, by and large solved the problem. It gives us a platform of optimism for the new season.
However, things have to go right on the pitch from day one. Liverpool had just seven players in Russia (compared to the 16 from Manchester City), but they were nearly all key men. A fatigued start from our front three will not sit well with Klopp’s high-octane tactics. Indeed, one could argue that Mané, Firmino and, especially, Salah were operating at the absolute peak of their powers last season. Any drop in those levels, even if just a few percent, and there will be no talk of a title push.
Above all though, we can look forward to the new season from a point of good-will and optimism. Let’s put title talk aside for the moment and be content with the fact we are continuing to build. Where it leads remains to be seen.