The best teams need to have a lot of qualities to thrive, but there are a couple of things that every dominant team have in common.
Firstly they tend to have much better players than the opposition, but they also have an aura that makes the other team feel like they’ve lost before they even step onto the pitch.
That was absolutely the case at Liverpool last season where they had excellent players and a fantastic system, but everyone knew that their home games were pretty much a foregone conclusion.
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Lots of opposition players and managers talk about Anfield with admiration and fear, so it’s clear that the atmosphere plays a huge part in the outcome in games.
With that in mind, it’s very interesting to see what Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa had to say ahead of their Premier League opener:
Does this mean opposing teams won't fear going to Anfield this season? pic.twitter.com/CaCJVydilW
— Football News Clips (@footienewsclips) September 10, 2020
It’s clear that he doesn’t see an empty Anfield as being anything special, so it does suggest that teams will approach these games with less fear and that could hurt Liverpool.
Of course it’s expected that other teams will suffer from a lack of fans at home, but the aura of Anfield always seemed to be a bigger deal than most ground.
Man City should be their main challengers and it’s potentially crass to trot out the old cliche that The Etihad lacks fans and atmosphere at times, but it’s widely talked about for a reason.
They won’t suffer as much as Liverpool do in terms of losing a home advantage, while it’s notoriously harder to retain a title than it is to win one, so surely Liverpool will face a bigger challenge this season.