SOCCER

Liverpool Wrap Up English Premier League Title Without Kicking A Ball

Jun 26, 2020, 3:14 PM
Football fans celebrate at Anfield Stadium as Liverpool FC win the Premier League title after Chels...
Football fans celebrate at Anfield Stadium as Liverpool FC win the Premier League title after Chelsea beat Manchester City tonight ensuring Liverpool FC can no longer be overtaken on points on June 25, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool have won 18 league championships already with the last title win in 1989-90 under Kenny Dalglish. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Although Liverpool looked like the inevitable champions when the English Premier League restarted, Man City came out of the traps so fast with thumping wins over Arsenal and Burnley.

Liverpool looked sluggish against city rival Everton, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Liverpool might not secure the title before they went to the Etihad Stadium to play Man City on July 2, but on Wednesday night, the Reds tore Crystal Palace apart, 4-0, putting pressure on Man City to get a victory at Chelsea.

What Chelsea and City produced Thursday night is a major reason why we’re Premier League fans. Of course, Man City had the lion’s share of possession, but Chelsea were good value for all three points. They soaked up a ton of pressure and effectively hit City on the counter-attack. Both teams went for it in terms of securing all three points and we were treated to some proper entertainment.

Ultimately the controlled pressure from Chelsea showed what has been a recurring issue for City this season, the backline just isn’t good enough. Outside of goalkeeper Ederson and center back Laporte, there is room for major upgrades and I trust City will address their player needs once again during the next transfer window.

With seven rounds left, Liverpool is the quickest club to win a title in EPL history. There are still a few more records they’ll be looking to wrap up. Potentially winning every home game and total points haul. Liverpool is your 2019/20 EPL champions, with a target firmly on their backs.

It’s thought the team will need to spend to improve depth to truly challenge consistently next season on multiple fronts. With COVID-19 still not going anywhere and no time frame of when fans can come back into stadiums, along with other hits on clubs revenue, it’s thought the transfer windows might be a little quieter, which makes sense, even, if like myself, you enjoy the rumors about new players coming in.

Other European Leagues

Bundesliga wraps up its season this weekend, and whilst Bayern Munich have already won the title we will start to keep an eye on Germany and how they approach the start of the 2020/21 season.

Matches to keep an eye on will be Bayer Leverkusen versus Mainz and Borussia Monchengladbach versus Hertha Berlin. Both Leverkusen and Monchengladbach are fighting it out for the fourth and final Champions League place.

In Italy Juventus have opened up a four-point lead over Lazio at the top of Serie A, Lazio’s loss midweek to Atalanta, dented the men from Rome’s push to wrestle Juventus’ dominance in Italy. Still plenty of games to go, and Juventus haven’t looked their brilliant best this season.

In Spain it is neck and neck between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Same point total, but Madrid have the head to head record and have their noses in front.

There will be limited EPL action this weekend as the FA Cup restarts. Both teams from Manchester are still in the competition, but keep an eye on Leicester City versus Chelsea as the standout tie and you should be able to catch all the FA Cup ties on the ESPN channels.

Aston Villa v. Wolverhampton Wanderers

The early kick-off on Saturday, which you can catch at 5:30 a.m. on NBCSN, is a local rivalry just under 20 miles apart, yet, believe it or not, not each other’s fiercest rivals. Make no mistake this will be hotly contested. Wolves come into Villa Park looking to secure European soccer for next season again. And Villa are scrapping for every point to drag themselves out of the relegation zone.

Villa spent so much money and behind the scenes, they’ll already be looking at next season’s budget, is it an EPL budget or a Championship budget, vastly reduced.

Let’s be clear here, Villa is in huge trouble on and off the pitch, if they can find some kind of form to get themselves out of the mess they’re in, it will be in large part due to captain Jack Grealish, the most fouled player in the EPL. He’s been a bright spark in a difficult season, but sadly for him and Villa fans there hasn’t been enough quality to compliment him.

When you sport the worst defensive record in the league (59 conceded) that gives you something to work on, and they’ll need more out of both ends to get clear of danger.

In my opinion, the style Villa play they don’t have the personnel to succeed. They need more speed to get in behind the opposition backline and in that regard recruitment has been poor. The worst of it all is that you don’t know where the next goal is coming from.

Wolves come into town full of confidence, sitting in sixth and level on points with Man Utd. Two wins from two games since the restart, and Adama Traore (nine assists on the season) with two assists for Raul Jimenez (15 goals on the season) two goals in the process.

Traore we can wax lyrical about all day. His speed, physicality and magnificentย jump of consistency and end product have been a joy to watch. Wolves Mexican forward will also be heavily looked at this summer.

For me, if you’re looking for a more traditional #9, say in the mold of Harry Kane, then Jimenez is your man. His goal return along with the six assists shows how important he has been once again this season. With a Villa backline shaky at best, I’ll be looking for Traore and Jimenez to take full advantage.

I do think this will be a good one and worth the early start. I’m just a fan of the Wolves set up and how they move the ball. I would say that Villa should counteract this by dropping deeper, but as I said earlier, I don’t think they have enough speed to overly worry Wolves. Set-pieces might be an avenue for Villa, and need to take full advantage of situations that are won more than likely by Grealish, and then delivered into dangerous areas by Grealish.

Do you see the recurring theme here? The man deserves an opportunity (no disrespect to Aston Villa fans) at a bigger club and should be in the England squad regularly. That said, it’s the visitors for me that take all three points as they try to solidify their European ambitions.

Prediction: 3-1, Wolves

Forgive the short article this week. I’ve been up all night celebrating the Reds first title win in 30 years. Little did I know as a 12-year-old kid who had witnessed eight titles in my first 12 years that I would wait for 30 years to see the next one.

Sat at home.

This was for the 96.

Sleep tight and God bless. You’re always on our minds.

Until next week, wash your hands, wear a mask and look after each other.

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