The difference between Klopp, Guardiola and Mourinho's pre-season quotes says it all
The optimism is flowing through Anfield right now
Liverpool demonstrated incredible progress last season, reaching the Champions League final having had to go through the qualifying rounds to reah the group stage. They were also the first team to beat Manchester City in the league, proving once again that Jürgen Klopp is Pep Guardiola's kryptonite.
The Reds have stengthened this summer, bringing in Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri having identified all three as players who fit the club's philosophy. The optimisim among the fanbase is almost tangible, as the thought that they will mount a proper title challenge against Manchester City for the first time since 2013/14 seems increasingly likely.
Klopp's quotes from a pre-season press conference convey that optimism. Daniel Sturridge might even play a role next season.
Similarly at Manchester City, the feeling around the club is positive. The team were runaway leaders in the Premier League last season, winning the title and breaking several records along the way. Just as there is at Liverpool, there is a cohesiveness to City, with everyone buying into Guardiola's methods and style of play. It has served them well and with Riyad Mahrez coming in from Leicester as well as possibly another midfielder, City fans have no reason to worry about regressing next season.
Guardiola has certainly enjoyed working with the young players at City in pre-season, as his first team stars recover from the World Cup.
The same cannot be said for Manchester United, who seem to have come down with a bad case of third season Mourinhitis.
Not only do United lack the sort of cohesion that's visible at Liverpool and City, but José Mourinho seems to be insistent on playing down expectations. For a manager tagged as a 'winner', he is going into this season with an incredibly defeatist attitude.
Perhaps his career-long lust for Manchester United was misinformed. United see themselves as the biggest club, and brand, in the world. Mourinho prefers to be the underdog. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. And maybe Mourinho is realising that. Some of his recent quotes from United's pre-season tour of the United States sound like a man who wants to be sacked.
In particular, the way in which he threw his own players under the bus after a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool last night does not ispire optimism for the season ahead.
With Spurs a constant presence in the top four and Arsenal and Chelsea improving this summer, it's not looking good for Mourinho as he enters his third season at United, typically the time that he implodes and everything goes to shit.