Jurgen Klopp has new box office rival as Liverpool transfer inquiry set to take brief hiatus – Paul Gorst

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The more things change, the more they stay the same for Jurgen Klopp. Once again, the Liverpool manager leads his squad for the first day of a Premier League season at Anfield, fresh off of a major success, against a newly promoted side.

With a lack of significant additions to his squad creating a backdrop of fan frustration, so do Klopp as he nears his fifth year at Anfield.

All of the above was certainly applicable 13 months ago, when the then European champions entertained Norwich City to raise the curtain after just adding free agent Adrian to the top ranks.

And while the similarities may be striking, this time around, the world is very different.

Liverpool are once again English champions and begin the defense of a first league title since the start of the 1990/91 campaign with a 3-1 victory at Sheffield United.

And for now, Klopp and his players will continue to fight fanless as the country pushes its way through the coronavirus pandemic.

The match with Sheffield United on October 24 had been reserved for the grand reopening of Anfield’s gates, with 12,500 to be allowed back into the ground.

However, new government rules and regulations this week mean those plans will surely be subject to overhaul following increased infection rates.

For now, Liverpool will continue to play their games on the soundtrack of the eerie silence of an empty Anfield.

This is something Saturday’s visiting manager Marcelo Bielsa believes he can give his championship-winning Leeds a boost when action resumes at 5.30pm.

“We’re going to play at Anfield, but it’s only Anfield if they are full,” said Bielsa, who is making the L4 trip for the first time in his rich career.

The prospect of Bielsa coming face to face with Klopp is delightful for anyone with even a passing interest in football.

They are two of the best known and respected coaches in world football who come face to face on the sideline. Their interactions promise to be fascinating as the action heats up on the pitch.

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Bielsa is revered throughout the game, with even Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola known to worship at the Argentina manager’s altar.

The enigmatic 65-year-old will put on a few layers of intrigue and intensity on this new Premier League season. A worthy addition to the self-proclaimed “best league in the world”.

And the idea of ​​him clashing with Klopp across the technical zone alone would have been worth the admission fee if Anfield had reopened in time.

Combative and combustible, the two managers share similar traits between minutes zero and 90 on a referee’s watch. Television companies didn’t have to work hard to create this one. Pure box office.

With Liverpool wrapped up to the Premier League title just two games away in a reboot in June which already had them 25 points clear, the visit of Bielsa’s upstarts represents the Reds’ first real meaningful and meaningful game in over six months. .

A refocusing of the collective spirit could be in order and visitors will be keen to put an end to an unbeaten Liverpool record that dates back to April 23, 2017 at home in the Premier League.

But while the eve of a new season normally means hope is eternal for those of a red persuasion, preparation for the 2020/2021 big kickoff has been visibly subdued.

The fact that the action continues behind closed doors is certainly the root cause of such a deadpan mood, but there is also little to spark the imagination of many fans given the lack of new faces.

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For the second season in a row, the Reds will line up with the same players on display and whether or not you agree with the cautious transfer strategy, such a reason is part of what looks like a decidedly cool attitude to the new campaign. .

What is the team? “The same as last year, my son,” said the great Bill Shankly.

Familiarity isn’t exactly a source of contempt, but Liverpool fans know who the protagonists are in this story.

They will of course be cheering them wholeheartedly behind the TV screens on Saturday night, but it’s hard to remember such a low-key preparation at the start of the year at Anfield.

Such a pervasive sense of indifference is even stranger when you consider that Liverpool are heading into this season as the undisputed best dog in English football for the first time in three decades.

Watch the latest Blood Red podcast ahead of the new season HERE

One thing that Klopp and his players have proven, however, is that they know how to win. With consecutive campaigns of 97 and 99 points, the Reds have lost just four of their last 76 top-flight games. Half of those came after the title was sacked.

The ongoing recruiting rumbles and financial investigations will continue until the window closes on October 5, but for 90 minutes they will be silent when referee Michael Oliver whistles.

The champions are at home and it promises to be another hell of a ride.

Buckle up.

* Do you play Fantasy Premier League? Are you ready to use your chips in the right weeks of play and nail your captain every time? Now is your chance to prove it – and win some prizes in the process.

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