The Premier League kicks off on Friday night when the champions of Europe meet the winners of the Championship when Liverpool take on Norwich City in an appealing looking opener to what should be another brilliant campaign.
It is fair to say that over the course of the season these two sides will have different ambitions. Liverpool will be eyeing up the title while success this term for Norwich City would merely be being in the division next season.
The Champions League winners Liverpool will embark on their campaign to win the Premier League for the first time, just five days after losing out in the Community Shield, a match which is really only a glorified friendly in these parts, but which still had a bit of intensity about it given who the opposition were. Jurgen Klopp used plenty of subs in the second half of that match but even so you would think the legs might be feeling it a little.
The other thing we need to take into account here is the fact that Liverpool only finished their season on June 1 and had a lot of players away at the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations so it will be interesting to see what sort of standard they can show here. The other caveat is the UEFA Super Cup next week, which some clubs don’t take too seriously but again, against another side who they’ve grown a rivalry with in recent times, it might be a focus.
The Championship winners from last season will be out to make an immediate impression back in the top flight as Norwich City look to highlight their swashbuckling attacking football on the grandest stage of them all. I think it is fair to say that through watching the Canaries last season they are not going to head to Anfield and park the bus. It is a risky strategy but one which should be commended and as such it would be nice to see it work to encourage others to do it later in the season.
I’ve no doubts that over the course of the campaign Norwich will have enough goals in them to survive. The big question mark will come on whether they have the required steel and resilience at the other end of the pitch to stay up. We probably won’t find that out here as it isn’t really a match to judge them on defensively, but it will be interesting to see how they do defend nevertheless. Norwich should be a good team to watch this season.
Sadio Mane missed the Community Shield last weekend having been featuring in the Africa Cup of Nations until recently. He may be on the bench again here with Divock Origi in for him from the start. Mo Salah was knocked out of that earlier so he should be fine to play.
Norwich are going to make the trip to Merseyside with something of an injury crisis on their hands. Christoph Zimmerman and Alexander Tettey are the big men to miss out while Timm Klose was a doubt earlier in the week but could be forced to play. Patrick Roberts and Josip Drmic could make their debuts.
I think Liverpool will win the game although I’d be surer of that on September 9 rather than August 9 I think. How many they will win by remains to be seen but the handicaps are on the large side for a game that is the first outing of the season and with other things on the Liverpool minds perhaps. I do however think that Norwich’s style will make for a very entertaining game.
Norwich were at my stomping ground Kenilworth Road a couple of weeks ago playing Luton in a pre-season match and came out on top 5-1 in a match that it wouldn’t have been a disservice had it ended 9-4 such was the openness of it. Admittedly you can’t read a whole lot into pre-season but it confirms that Norwich aren’t going to be in the Premier League to try and sneak tight victories. It is a risky game to go and impose themselves on Liverpool and offer an open and expansive approach but it is their best option. I see goals at both ends here and while it is early in the season I still think over 3.5 goals will land in this one.
WON – Back Over 3.5 goals for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Bet365