Liverpool themselves have signed Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas, while the threat posed by other English clubs – mainly Manchester City, who are still on the hunt for a first Champions League title – is clear.
Romano believes the Thiago acquisition puts Liverpool ahead of Bayern Munich. But what about the image of the rest of the teams that currently make up the European elite? And who else should the Reds be wary of?
The Spanish team were eliminated by Manchester City in the last 16 stages last season. They made around 80 million euros in player sales, but made no signings during the transfer window.
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Romano: “Real Madrid have decided to keep their team, to stay with their best players and Zinedine Zidane, considering that they are strong at the moment.
“But the decision to sell Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon, in my opinion, is something crazy! They needed the money so they decided to sell players. ”
With little money for signings under new boss Ronald Koeman and with the drama of Lionel Messi wanting to leave only to end up staying, it has been a tough summer for the Catalans.
Romano: “I think it’s really hard to see Barcelona fight for the Champions League because the night against Bayern Munich was something terrible.
“After this kind of defeat, we expected a revolution, not only for the coach but also for the players. We expected a new era for Barcelona but it’s not like that as they just signed Sergino Dest.
“It was not a real revolution. They lost Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic but they don’t have any new stars at the moment.
“This season for Barcelona is like: ‘Let’s start the change, sell players and prepare the revolution for next year with a new president and a new team’. And we have to see without or without Lionel Messi.
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“Before, Barça were planning to sell Philippe Coutinho and he was on the list for sale, so his agents were working to offer him to Tottenham, to Arsenal.
“Arsenal were very close and at the start of August they were ready. But once Koeman arrived he understood that it was difficult to sign other players, for example Memphis Depay.
« Ousmane Dembele [was not close to signing for Liverpool] because [Liverpool made] a simple loan without an option to buy. Barcelona were considering letting him play but in September they switched positions as they needed the money to sign Depay.
“Always the player said no to Liverpool and Juventus – the player said it was not about the money; he wanted to stay [at Barcelona]. «
Eliminated by Lyon in the last 16 games of last season, Juventus will be looking for a dramatic improvement this time around. After sacking Maurizio Sarri, they have a new manager: Andrea Pirlo.
Romano: “With Juventus, the big question is Pirlo, because he has never done anything, not even with the academy.
“It’s something new for Juventus. They have a good squad and they change to be a younger team – it’s the start of a revolution and you can see players like Gonzalo Higuain leaving the club.
“But they signed one of the best players in the whole window I would say to Dejan Kulusevski. They have signed a future star and in my opinion he will be the new star of the Champions League this season.
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“No one knows him outside of Italy but believe me – loaned to Parma, he was on another planet! ”
PSG have not strengthened at the rear after losing Thiago Silva, so they are slightly weaker too, with manager Thomas Tuchel not being entirely satisfied with his employer’s movements in the market.
Romano: “I expected PSG to sign a high-level central defender – a decision, for example, for Milan Skriniar or Kalidou Koulibaly. But they couldn’t recruit this type of player because of the financial situation – a crazy and difficult summer.
“Thiago Silva was the captain – not just a player, but a leader. But when you have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi you can have a fantastic season, so they will try to win the Champions League for sure. ”
With questions to ask all the big clubs in Europe this season after different approaches to the transfer market, and with Liverpool weakening last season’s champions Bayern Munich by signing Thiago, Jurgen Klopp’s men can be confident.
Even without Virgil van Dijk injured for at least the round of 16, if not more, the Reds will have designs going on.
Winning the Champions League is never easy, but Liverpool are rightly seen as one of the most likely to win it, which would make a total of seven European Cups for the club at the end of the season.