Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is expecting as many as six teams to challenge for the Premier League title in the upcoming campaign.
In 2018-19, the scrap for the prize was a two-horse race between the Reds and Manchester City. Eventually, City prevailed, as their haul of 98 points put them one point clear of the Merseyside outfit.
Liverpool will raise the curtain on the 2019-20 top-flight campaign on Friday when they face Norwich City at Anfield.
Ahead of the season, Klopp said he is expecting a number of teams who were off the pace last season to put up more of a fight, per Nick Wright of Sky Sports:
"I'd say there are at least six teams in contention. Everton, for example, have tried to stay very ambitious. They have done a lot and I think there are still maybe a couple of players to come in. They had a good team last year and they have improved, with very interesting signings.
"OK, they cannot really be busy in the transfer window, but after years when all the young boys were on loan, now they finally bring them back and get the benefit of that. It's like it's made for a transfer ban. Now [Tammy] Abraham and all these other guys come back and it's a fantastic team."
Per Match of the Day, in the overwhelming majority of Premier League seasons, Liverpool's total of 97 points would have been enough for them to clinch the title:
The Reds did go on to win the UEFA Champions League and are expected to be City's biggest challengers once again this season.
However, with one day remaining in the transfer window, the club have yet to make any major acquisitions in the transfer market. By contrast, City have landed Rodri and are reportedly on the brink of sealing a deal for Joao Cancelo from Juventus, per Sky Sports.
Klopp said he was never going to be prompted into signing new players by the moves of other clubs, though:
"You should never do transfers because other clubs are doing transfers. That makes no sense, it's not about that. ... People think that players from other clubs, other countries, are better than the players we have here but without really having the proof, because those players haven't played here, or whatever else."
Scouted Football noted there are a number of exciting young players capable of making an impact for the Reds:
Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl
Liverpool's squad for their pre-season tour of North America includes 10 teenagers: 🏴 Dan Atherton 🏴 Rhian Brewster 🏴 Bobby Duncan 🏴 Curtis Jones 🏴 Adam Lewis 🇫🇷 Yasser Larouci 🇵🇱 Jakub Ojrzyński 🇳🇱 Sepp van den Berg 🇳🇱 Ki-Jana Hoever 🏴 Ben Woodburn Plenty of talent. https://t.co/ChxSe84MEs
Liverpool set extraordinary standards last season in pursuit of the Premier League. It will now be fascinating to see if narrowly missing out on the prize galvanises them or leaves them a little flat.
What is crucial is they get off to a quick start. Should the Reds drop points in the early weeks of the season, you can bet questions will be quickly asked about their reluctance to delve into the transfer market.