As Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool prepare to kick off the 2018-19 season against West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday, we gathered the expert views from the media on the new campaign.

In the first instalment of a two-part feature, Henry Winter from The Times, BBC Radio 5 Live's Ian Dennis, The Telegraph journalist Chris Bascombe, Melissa Reddy of and Neil Atkinson from The Anfield Wrap all give their assessment of the Reds' chances of silverware this term.

The scribes from the press room also offer their views on the key men for the team, and the rest of the division...

Who will win the league?

Chris Bascombe: Not sure I ever predicted a Liverpool title before, but the prospect is winding up the club's rivals so much there is no reason to do anything but embrace the possibility. Manchester City are favourites - and only a fool would write off Jose Mourinho winning the Premier League with United - but it's rare to go into a new season believing Liverpool have such a great chance. I think they have a strong enough side - and manager - to welcome and deal with growing expectation. City will need to significantly weaken, though.

Henry Winter: Manchester City - due to the quality and depth of squad.

Ian Dennis: I genuinely think this could be the year that Liverpool end their elusive wait to become champions again. They are the closest rivals to Manchester City and I fancy Liverpool to improve their points tally from last season.

Melissa Reddy: Having spoken to a lot of Premier League managers and players this summer, the popular opinion is that Manchester City will be pace-setters again with Liverpool the biggest obstacle to Pep Guardiola's men retaining the title. It's hard to disagree with that line of thinking and I can't see a repeat of last season where the league is won by such a massive margin. The Reds have added quality, depth and rectified weaknesses in the squad, so they will undoubtedly be aiming to fight on all fronts. And, in particular, for top spot in the division.

Neil Atkinson: In terms of who will win the league and where will Liverpool finish, both of these questions aren't really about Liverpool. They are about Manchester City. For the first time since I was about eight I am of the view Liverpool have built a squad and have a style of play capable of breaking 90 points. That is huge - it is an enormous ask. It requires winning at least 29 games out of 38. It is monumental and would be a real achievement. But it might not be enough. The reality is that last season's champions are no weaker, in fact they may well be stronger and their achievement last season didn't look as draining as title successes have in the past - for instance, Chelsea's 93-point season under Conte. They didn't appear to be overachieving as they went. They were rarely fortunate with the exception of two or three early-season wins. Liverpool could hit 93 points and finish two wins short. This is frankly terrifying but there is nothing we can do about it. Currently, unless we reach the last four of the Champions League I am of the view Liverpool will finish this season as the second-place side who will have more points than any side ever to come second before them.

Where will Liverpool finish?

Bascombe: First.

Winter: Second. Will push City all the way. Liverpool's rise under Jürgen Klopp is irresistible.

Dennis: First.

Reddy: Comfortably better than last season in terms of both points and position.

What do you think of the new additions to the squad?

Bascombe: Excellent. The obvious areas of weakness have been addressed. The squad can be rotated without compromising the starting XI so much. Just need to avoid injuries, obviously.

Winter: Great business, done early. Alisson and Naby Keita are class acts, who will help strengthen the spine. Fabinho looks promising but may need a few games to settle in. 

Dennis: Quality signings and Liverpool now have strength in depth to their squad. If you include Virgil van Dijk in January then 2018 caps an excellent year of recruitment for revamping the squad.

Reddy: They address weaknesses, add variety and provide an extension to Liverpool's aggressive approach. Alisson's distribution and front-foot goalkeeping can be a major differential just as his countryman Ederson has been for City. Fabinho adds solidity and greater competition at the base of midfield, while Naby Keita has all the tools to be among the very best players in the world. He is exceptional and, excitingly, is nowhere near his ceiling. Xherdan Shaqiri is an astute buy, not only due to his bargain fee, but because of the attributes and variation he adds to the attacking unit.

Atkinson: Fab broadly. Shaqiri has a lot to prove for me in terms of how he fits in but he will be alright at worst. The other three are genuinely exciting. Curtis Jones, Nat Phillips and Rafa Camacho are all additions to the squad, too, and I hope between the three of them we are talking about at least 15 - mostly successful - starts come next May.

Surprise team to watch out for?

Bascombe: Wolves. They have used their contacts well to build a team.

Winter: Fulham. Sessegnon is destined for the top.

Dennis: Not sure it qualifies as a surprise but interested to see how Wolves fare on their Premier League return.

Reddy: Wolves and Fulham will make for really interesting viewing this season given their business and enterprising playing styles. I don't see massive disruption in terms of the top of the table, but survival is going to be some fight.

Atkinson: Everyone is going to say Wolves. So Wolves. Though I fancy Arsenal will finish ahead of Tottenham. I think Tottenham will find it tricky to break 80 points, and I think Arsenal should be confident of breaking 70.

Player of the Year?

Bascombe: Roberto Firmino.

Winter: Sergio Aguero.

Dennis: Wouldn't be a shock if it was Mo Salah again.

Reddy: From a Liverpool perspective, I'm torn between Naby Keita and Sadio Mane. I think the former is built for Kloppball in the Premier League, while the latter is such an all-round excellent footballer. There's no doubt that Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk will be quite influential, too. It's unfortunate that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain won't be available as he was phenomenal and a wonder to watch in the final months of last season. Elsewhere in the league, Kevin De Bruyne will be his exceptional self, as will N'Golo Kante.

Atkinson: Sadio Mane. Or Leroy Sane. Massive season for the Anes [Mane and Sane].


Bascombe: Brighton, Cardiff, Huddersfield.

Winter: Watford, Huddersfield and Cardiff.

Dennis: Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town with Fulham, Brighton and maybe even Newcastle fighting to avoid being the third club to join them. 

Reddy: Cardiff, Brighton (I actually hope not, though), Southampton.

Atkinson: 18th - Huddersfield. 19th - Cardiff. 20th - Southampton. Though all bets are off if Newcastle and Rafa Benitez part ways.

Which LFC player are you most looking forward to watching?

Bascombe: Sadio Mane. He had a few issues last year but looks back to his best in pre-season.

Winter: Mo Salah. Great players deliver season in, season out and Salah possesses the class as a player and the humble attitude of a dedicated professional to shine again.

Dennis: Naby Keita. I've talked to scouts who've watched him at Leipzig and they were glowing. He sounds such an exciting prospect, I'm looking forward to seeing what impact he will make.

Reddy: Keita. I also hope Curtis Jones continues developing as excellently as he has been and gets a few outings in the campaign - he was a really enjoyable watch during pre-season.

Atkinson: Naby Keita. And Daniel Sturridge because what is love, baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more!

One hope as a reporter this season?

Bascombe: The speedy death of Twitter, and a two-legged Champions League semi-final meeting between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Winter: To see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing this season, ahead of schedule. It was such a cruel injury, just as Ox was showing his many strengths.

Dennis: For the lesser sides in the Premier League to be bolder and abandon their cautious, safety-first policy. Too many last season went away from home happy to contain rather than challenge the big clubs.

Reddy: To have the opportunity to document and share in incredible, unforgettable scenes as was the case last season from Hong Kong to Kiev.

Atkinson: As I am not really a reporter my hopes may well be a little different to many. Essentially that we all keep remembering this is meant to be fun, on and off the pitch, and that that spreads across all communities and aspects of the club. I expect to feel good in April. I hope to feel fabulous in May.

Look out for part two of our feature with the press ahead of the new season on on Saturday.

The views expressed in this article belong to the individual contributors. They do not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.