The kick-off of the 2017/18 Premier League season is some 24 hours away but the mind games about who the eventual winners would be have started with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rated Manchester City as clear title favourites.
Arsenal host Leicester City on Friday to kick off the top flight for 2017-18, with Liverpool travelling to play Watford on Saturday to open their campaign and Klopp is aiming high for Liverpool, but backs City as the clear team to beat, highlighting last season's signing of Gabriel Jesus and their defensive improvements in this transfer window as key reasons.
"The favourites must be Manchester City actually," Klopp said to DAZN. "They played some incredible football last year and had just a couple of problems.
"They are definitely the favourites. Manchester City is in attack mode, that is obvious.
"They already had an incredible team last season and then Jesus joined them and I thought, 'Oh my goodness'.
"I mean he is very young and really strong. Incredible player – and now they got some defenders as well. They will be interesting to watch.
"I'm obviously wishing for the highest possible finish. Manchester United will want to strike back. We will see how Chelsea will do without Costa. [Alvaro] Morata is a great signing but they also lost [Nemanja] Matic. We will see. They still have a pretty great team.
"We will have to align. Not subordinate and then on the specific days [against the league’s best teams] we have to be there and try to beat them, but also try to get as many points as possible out of the other matches."
Liverpool beat City at Anfield last season and then drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture, with Klopp optimistic he has a gameplan that can work against Guardiola.
"We actually have a good record [against City]," said Klopp. "Of course, there is no guarantee that that record will stay this way, but we do have some ideas how to play against Pep's teams. Nevertheless, it is always tough.
"Manchester City being the favourites, doesn't mean they are going to end up winning the title. They are my favourites, but we can gather our points without looking at them, since we only play them twice. So we don't really need to think too much about them.
"The other teams aren't stagnating as well. They will try everything too. We for our part will try to stabilise in the top region [of the table] and we will try to take the next step."
Manchester City and Liverpool finished third and fourth respectively at the end of last season.