Jurgen Klopp and Manuel Pellegrini both have huge expectations to deal with this season as Liverpool welcome West Ham to Anfield on Sunday.
Two big-spending teams, both with huge expectations, clash at Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool start their most eagerly-anticipated Premier League campaign in years against an optimistic West Ham.
The Reds broke the bank to bring in Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri but apart from the money spent it was the way Klopp filled their obvious needy areas that impressed many.
January signing Virgil van Dijk made an instant impact to the defence and with a pre-season under his belt he could be even better – throw in exciting youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold, the returning Adam Lallana and rejuvenated Daniel Sturridge and it’s easy to see why Anfield will be such an expectant venue on Sunday.
Not that Klopp is afraid of the expectations: "My own expectations are always high.
"It was pretty normal there would be one season when we would spend more money. We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League.
"People ask me already if it's the best squad we have ever had - I don't think about that because it's not about what we have now, it's about what we make of it.”
Hammers happy with transfer business
West Ham have hardly been big spenders in the last few years but the much-maligned owners have backed new boss Manuel Pellegrini to the tune of £100m on ten new signings.
Lucas Perez, Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson could all start at Anfield while Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmolenko is struggling with injury.
The Hammers will be barely recognisable from last season, but whether it will take that bit longer to gel remains to be seen – they’ll still have a relatively free hit at Anfield as huge 11/1 outsiders.
Liverpool v West Ham betting (Sky Bet odds)
- 3/1 - Mohamed Salah to score twice
- 11/2 - Sadio Mane to score first
- 11/1 - West Ham to win
- 18/1 - Liverpool to win 4-1
Pellegrini, though, is happy with the summer transfers: "When I talked with the owners, we agreed we needed to work on a project.
"They wanted to invest money to bring in players. We have improved the squad, all of the players are here because I asked for them.
"We have two players in each position and they must work in a competitive way and it's my duty to pick the team I think is the best."
Liverpool v West Ham team news
Alisson, now the second most expensive keeper in the world, will make his debut but Fabinho may not as he’s a doubt for Liverpool with illness.
There’s a mini-crisis at centre half already for Klopp to deal with as Dejan Lovren won’t play while Ragner Klavan and Joel Matip are doubtful - leaving Joe Gomez to partner Van Dijk as long as he’s recovered from a recent injury.
Naby Keita, who is already a front-runner to be PFA Player of the Year, will make his Premier League debut in midfield with James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum vying for the other two places.
For West Ham, Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio are all out but Edimilson Fernandes may recover from a knock to play some part.