With no European or World Cup to occupy the summer, it’s been a short off season for Liverpool and the club’s fans as they try and move past last year’s disappointing end. It doesn’t help, either, that their first opponent this weekend is the same as their last.
A crushing 6-1 defeat to Stoke put something of an exclamation point on a season that hadn’t met expectations. It also made certain the Reds would end up in sixth. For Emre Can, though, the goal is to make this next Stoke match about moving on—and starting the new season with three valuable points.
"We didn't end the last season particularly well, and I think we owe it to the fans to make amends," Can told the club’s official website as he looked forward to the start of another campaign. "This is why the first few matches are especially important. I think we can start to put it right with a few good results."
Those first few matches seem set to be difficult. Bournemouth at Anfield in week two gives them their Anfield opener against newly promoted Bournemouth, but then there are trips to Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, and Tottenham to give real heft to Liverpool’s first ten fixtures of the season.
Their eleventh is a trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In amongst all that, there will also be the Europa League and a few trips to the continent to worry about. Fortunately for the fans, the club reacted to last season’s disappointment with conviction, and has invested heavily in the squad this summer.
A new starting right back, central midfielder, attacking midfielder, and striker have arrived. It should give the manager plenty of options, with a positionally and tactically flexible two-deep that should be able to beat most of their opponents. And though it may seem a long shot, that means the players are aiming high.
"We have a very strong team, with a lot of good-quality players, who work together well," Can added. "I think if we can start well and get a few good results under our belt, we can then keep our focus on each match as it comes, and hopefully compete for the title."