Errr....I guess it is now the Barclay's Premier League or something like that. Either way, I am incredibly excited. This season promises to full of fun and hopefully Liverpool can get the monkey off its back and win the title for the first time since 89-90, before the inception of the "Premiership."
Last year I attempted to follow a club in each of the main European leagues (EPL--Liverpool, La Liga--Valencia, Serie A--AS Roma and Bundesliga--Hertha Berlin). It wasn't very successful after the first two or three months. It took an enormous amount of effort to follow those teams and then I had a new job which really ate into my time. Liverpool finished 3rd in its league and runner-up in the Champions League to AC Milan. Valencia ended up fourth in La Liga and crashed out of CL play in the quarters to Chelsea. Roma ended up second in the table and fell to ManU in the CL quarterfinals as well. Hertha faired the worse of those clubs. 10th in the league after starting the season in the top 4. Oh well.
This year my focus will be on Liverpool. I will still follow those other teams but not very closely. It is much easier to follow the league that's based in an English speaking country.
I am very hopeful for Liverpool this year. The new owners have opened up the wallet for Rafa Benitez. Rafa signed Fernando Torres for $40M to give the squad some much needed scoring ability. Let's just hope he's worth the outlay. LFC also locked up many of its players (Gerrard, Reina) to long term contracts. LFC also pulled in a young winger from Feyenoord, Ryan Babel, who hopefully can provide some pace and accurate crosses.
Standing in the way of the Scousers are Chelsea and ManU, last year's title winners. ManU has spend significant sums to beef up its already impressive offense with signings of Carlos Tevez, Nani, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves. They will be a tough team to knock off, but the defense is thin. Injuries could really hurt them in the back.
Speaking of injuries, Chelsea had a lot of them last year and looks to be starting off that way again. Terry, Drogba, Ballack, Sheva, Kalou and Johnson are all suspect to miss the first week. An inauspicious start to the season, especially considering injuries derailed last year's campaign.
After those 3, Arsenal is the most likely to grab the fourth spot since Thierry Henry has left the building. But, I like their chances to even compete for the third spot. The Gunners have a lot of young talent and with Henry out of the way, they can all step into the sunlight. Plus, Van Persie has looked good in the pre-season.
Arsenal will have to look out for Tottenham who has loaded up on the already potent offense. There is bound to be a couple other teams battling for the final CL spot and the two UEFA slots. Likely it will be Everton and maybe Newcastle. Enough of my prognostication. I just want the Scousers to win. After that it doesn't really matter.
Now begins 9 months of weekly joy.