Sunday 15th August 2021
Season opener in England
City fails, Tuchel brakes, Klopp is surprised
In the Premier League, the champions made a false start: Manchester City lost their opening game, although the opponent’s most dangerous striker was missing. Thomas Tuchel’s FC Chelsea, on the other hand, is convincing again. And Jürgen Klopp? He is amazed at the limitless competition.
Even as Europe’s king of football, Thomas Tuchel pushes the role of favorites in England’s highly armed Premier League far from himself. The Champions League triumph, the Supercup win and the easy 3-0 home win against Crystal Palace at the start of the season – none of this is a reason for high spirits for the Chelsea coach. “I see ourselves as last year’s number four, so we can’t be favorites. We have to close the gap to number three, number two and number one, that’s what we will try,” said Tuchel after the successful start of last year’s fourth into the new season.
England’s football elite around Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs are being eyed more suspiciously than ever by the mainland this season. Thanks to patron Roman Abramowitsch, the “Blues” reached the transfer market and signed top striker Romelu Lukaku for the club’s record sum of around 115 million euros. Even without the Belgian brought by Inter Milan, who was not yet in the Chelsea squad due to the quarantine rules in force in England, the hosts gave London rivals Palace no chance at 3-0. Record champions Manchester United overtook Leeds United 5-1 and could afford to replace Jadon Sancho, who had been poached from Dortmund for 85 million euros, in the final quarter of an hour. Before the kick-off, the 76,000 fans at Old Trafford were also presented with the Frenchman Raphaël Varane, who had come from Real Madrid, as a new top-class player for the defense.
Meanwhile, it is unclear whether city rivals Manchester City will soon break their own transfer record and England captain Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur overflows to Pep Guardiola’s team. The city, which is funded from Abu Dhabi, had just spent the English record transfer fee of 139 million euros for national player Jack Grealish. “They don’t give a shit about Corona,” said Borussia Mönchengladbach’s sports director Max Eberl, looking at clubs like City, Chelsea and Lionel Messi’s new home, Paris Saint-Germain. Kane was absent from City’s 1-0 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday after returning to Spurs training on Friday.
Klopp was “very satisfied”
Jürgen Klopp had recently observed the behavior of the competition for the title of his Liverpool FC with a bit of astonishment. “Obviously there are no limits with them, but we have limits and we have been quite successful in the past two years given those limits,” said the coach of the Reds, whose most expensive transfer in the summer was Ibrahima Konaté for around 40 million euros. The ex-Leipziger has not yet been used in Norwich. In defense, Virgil van Dijk made his comeback after almost a year out of injury. Like goalkeeper Alisson Becker and English national defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Dutchman recently extended his contract – Liverpool will initially rely on proven stars in their own team when it comes to spending money. The strikers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané should also extend.
Salah scored the final score in Norwich after goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firminho. He was the first player in the history of the Premier League to score five times in a row on the first day of the game. “I’m very happy with the way we played. But we can do better, that’s clear,” said Klopp.
Compatriot Tuchel uttered very similar sentences. “It’s never perfect, we can always find something that we need to improve. But I’m very happy for today,” said the 47-year-old. Marcos Alonso, the former Dortmund Christian Pulisic and Chelsea’s debutant Trevoh Chalobah scored a home win at Stamford Bridge. In addition to Antonio Rüdiger, Timo Werner was also in the Chelsea starting line-up, while Kai Havertz was only used in the closing stages. And with Lukaku the competition in the attack is now a little tougher.