London, Aug 9 : Barely two months after they lifted last season's Champions League title in Madrid, Liverpool kick off the Premier League, looking to end their 30-year wait to lift the domestic title. Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is unworried by his side's lack of activity in the transfer market, saying there is no need to buy for the sake of buying and will expect to open the season with three points against newly promoted Norwich City on Friday night. Last season saw Liverpool take 97 points, becoming the first team in the history of the Premier League to win over 90 points and fail to lift the title and the fact they didn't do that was due to Manchester City's unfailing brilliance in the run in to the end of the season.
Pep Guardiola's men won their last 14 league games of last season, but have a difficult opening game to their title defense when they visit a West Ham side that looks to have strengthened intelligently over the summer, with Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller perhaps their standout recruits. Last season's beaten Champion League finalists Tottenham are at home to take on promoted side Aston Villa and it will be interesting to see how Spurs start the season after dropping off badly at the end of the last campaign.
Starting the season in their new ground should be an advantage for Mauricio Pochettino, men and while there is disappointment over the last minute failure to land forward Paulo Dybala, fans will look forward to seeing new recruits Tanguy Ndombole and Giovani Lo Celso, although Lo Celso may not start after only signing on Thursday. The big games on Sunday see Arsenal visit Newcastle United, where a section of the home fans have promised to boycott the game in protest at club owner Mike Ashley.
The deadline day return of Andy Carroll to St James Park could raise spirits, but Brazilian striker Joelinton may be a more realistic short-term option to trouble an Arsenal defense which all too often leaked goals last season. Manchester United's opener at home to Chelsea should also attract the headlines as Harry Maguire prepares to make his United debut, while Frank Lampard sits in the Chelsea dugout for his first competitive game in charge. United's players have praised the work they have done under coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in pre-season and it will be fascinating to see if they do look more coherent that the team that ended last season so badly.
Meanwhile Lampard's return to Chelsea and an emphasis on youth have given a feelgood factor to a season marked by a transfer ban and the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. Elsewhere Leicester City play Wolves in a game between two sides who may think they have a chance of qualifying for Europe next season. Wolves breezed through a qualifying round for the competition on Thursday night and that should have given then a slight competitive edge. Newly promoted Sheffield United visit Bournemouth in a game which promises attacking football and goals.
Crystal Palace coach Roy Hodgson will have to decide whether or not to play forward Wilfred Zaha after both Arsenal and Everton failed to meet their asking price for his club's key player and the fact that Everton are the visitors to Selhurst Park adds extra spice to the coach's decision. Finally Watford are at home to Brighton, who know they have to improve on last season, while Jay Rodriguez returns to Burnley, who entertain Southampton - one of his former clubs.XINHUA