The new Premier League season gets underway on tonight (Friday) and – for all the changes – it is hard to imagine the battle for the title being too different from the last campaign.

Just a point separated champions Manchester City from Liverpool with Juergen Klopp’s side forced to settle for second best despite suffering one league defeat all season.

City again got the upper hand in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley but only on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

If the rivalry in the league is to be as close this season, few neutrals will complain after a campaign that saw outstanding football from Pep Guardiola’s City and their Merseyside rivals.

Having won back-to-back league titles, Guardiola will be desperate to get his hands on a first Champions League trophy with City but his squad has the depth for a double challenge.

Inspirational skipper Vincent Kompany left to become player-manager at Anderlecht but City have invested over 60 million pounds (US$72.84 million) in defensive midfielder Rodri while fellow Spaniard Angelino strengthens the options at left back.

European champions Liverpool have been quiet in the transfer market but Klopp’s side, with Virgil van Dijk organising the back four and the attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane so dangerous, needed little strengthening.

Nothing has happened in the close-season to suggest that City and Liverpool are going to face a significantly stronger challenge from their nearest rivals.

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Source: (Reuters)