Paul Stewart column: Liverpool are the likeliest challengers to Manchester City
I thought this week we should look ahead to the Premier League season as the big kick-off tonight sees Manchester United face Leicester City, before the whole show gets on the road over the weekend.
So, who are the favourites to win the title and who will find it hard to keep Premier League status?
Starting with the title contenders, it’s very difficult to look anywhere other than the blue side of Manchester.
Even though Pep Guardiola has the financial clout to purchase any player he wants, he has amassed a fantastic squad.
He has also stuck to his principles and playing style, which is why I think he must be regarded as one of the best coaches in world football.
Looking at the potential challengers to City, I think Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have are showing real intent.
They really look like they mean business, spending an awful lot in the transfer window.
They have added Naby Keita and keeper Alisson, while also holding on to Mo Salah.
I think that they will be the ones who push City all the way and I don’t expect Guardiola’s champions to run away with it as easily as they did last season, when the title race was almost done and dusted by Christmas.
Having been a player at Liverpool, I certainly know that the club and its supporters demand success.
And if Klopp does not deliver a trophy this season and they don’t progress into the latter rounds of the Champions League, then he may find it difficult to hold on to his job.
This brings me to the remaining four hopefuls – Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
I may be proved wrong but I don’t see either Arsenal or Chelsea winning the title as both clubs have recruited new coaches and I believe it takes time to implement different styles of play.
It will seem strange not see the unmistakable figure of Arsene Wenger on the touchline for Arsenal.
As for United, well, I’m unsure that all is well in the camp at Old Trafford; I really don’t feel the team and players are totally behind the manager.
I must admit I’m not as fond of Jose Mourinho as I was when he first took the reins for his first spell at Chelsea.
His style of play does not sit well with the United faithful.
His apparent ‘park the bus’ attitude is not what they are used to and this may be his downfall.
This leaves another of my old teams, Spurs.
They have not spent much in the transfer window and have a total reliance on Harry Kane.
I think this season will see them fall short once again, and although Mauricio Pochettino is a favourite at the minute, the patience of the fans may well be tested this season.
When it comes to relegation, it is hard to look any further than the three teams that have come up.
However, out of those three Wolves look the best equipped to stay the distance.
As for the rest, Brighton and Huddersfield Town may well find it a long, hard season and struggle to punch above their weight like they did last time.