Ahead of Liverpool's Premier League opener against West Ham United on Sunday, we continue our countdown to the big kick-off with the thoughts of the press.

In part two of our special feature, the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce, Andy Hunter from The Guardian, Dominic King from the Daily Mail, The Mirror's David Maddock and Glenn Price from ESPN 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.

Click here to read part one.

Who will win the league?

James Pearce: Manchester City.

Andy Hunter: Manchester City or Liverpool.

Dominic King: Manchester City. There is nothing original in tipping the favourites but I just think they will have a little bit too much in terms of experience. They won't have a season like last year and they certainly won't be 19 points clear but they set the standard.

David Maddock: Manchester City.

Glenn Price: I really do think Liverpool can win the Premier League this season. It's their best chance in absolutely ages. They've got the opportunity to hit the ground running, given they had signings through the door early and not that many players at the World Cup compared to rivals. Manchester United, for example, had 17 players unavailable for selection on their pre-season tour of the US at one point, while Chelsea have only just sorted out their managerial situation. Liverpool can set the pace.

Where will Liverpool finish?

Pearce: Second.

Hunter: First or second.

King: Hot on Manchester City's heels in second. If City stutter and stumble, Liverpool will take advantage. There is substance to what Jürgen Klopp has built over the last couple of years and they will be a match for all. They really aren't far away from being the real deal.

Maddock: Second... unless City throw all their focus into winning the Champions League, in which case, reverse those two placings!

Price: See my first answer above.

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

Pearce: It's been a great window for the club. They have addressed areas of weakness in the squad. I expect Naby Keita to be one of the stars of the Premier League this season. Fabinho has replaced Emre Can, and securing the services of Xherdan Shaqiri was a shrewd move. He's going to be a real game-changer off the bench. The most important signing is undoubtedly Alisson Becker. That was a real show of ambition. He could be the club's No 1 for the next decade.

Hunter: Strong, exciting and exactly what was required for Liverpool to make "the next step" that Jürgen Klopp is looking for this season.

King: Very impressed, most specifically with the arrival of Naby Keita and Alisson Becker. From what I have seen of Fabinho, it is going to take him a little period to adjust but Keita looks a star in the making. I might be wrong but I'd say that within six months Keita is going to be one of the Premier League's most-talked-about players. Get ready to watch him go!

Maddock: Excellent business. Addressed almost all of the areas that needed attention, and have added potential world-class talent in positions where there was no real prospect of that. Now have that level of potential all across the pitch.

Price: I can't wait to see how Keita gets on in England. There's always usually an element of risk when it comes to transfers, but Keita has looked at home in a red shirt since the start of pre-season. Fabinho has quietly gone about his business, while Xherdan Shaqiri's release clause was too good of an opportunity to pass up on - particularly when Liverpool need depth in that area of the pitch. From watching Alisson in Evian, he's an absolute unit and has already made a positive impression on his teammates. Rival fans are envious of Liverpool's business this summer. 

Surprise team to watch out for?

Pearce: Wolves. They have made some decent signings and look better equipped than the other newly-promoted teams.

Hunter: Wolves.

King: Wolves. The idea for a newly-promoted team is just stay up but I get the impression decent things are expected at Molineux. The teams from eight down to 20 last season were much of a muchness and Wolves have an ambition to be progressive. They might not be full of goals but they will win more than they lose. I can see them comfortably in the top 10.

Maddock: There are few surprises any more, but I think Arsenal will surprise a few by challenging much more strongly than they have done in recent seasons, and also don't feel Fulham will struggle, which will probably surprise a few who haven't kept up this summer.

Price: It's hard to look past Wolves, isn't it? But I think Fulham might catch a few people by surprise this season. They've spent a fair bit of dough on a number of decent players and have Ryan Sessegnon, one of the most exciting young prospects in world football. 

Player of the Year?

Pearce: Mohamed Salah. Defenders might know what he's going to do now but stopping him is a different matter.

Hunter: Would not be at all surprised if Salah repeats his phenomenal form of last season and wins it again.

King: Kevin De Bruyne. I'd love to see Salah score 30 goals and do the double but if City win the title again, it will be down to De Bruyne. He's a special player.

Maddock: Naby Keita.

Price: The more I see of Sadio Mane, the more I'm convinced he's going to go up another level this season. We've been seeing him operate in a slightly deeper role for the past few months, displaying a creative side to his game that few people believed he had. He's excelling in it and, rather fittingly, now occupies the No.10 shirt at Liverpool. He's still just as threatening in the final third, though, and defences are going to despise playing against him once again. 


Pearce: Cardiff, Fulham, Watford.

Hunter: Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.

King: Huddersfield, Cardiff and Bournemouth. I hope I'm wrong about Huddersfield.

Maddock: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Southampton.

Price: Newcastle United, Cardiff City and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Which LFC player are you most looking forward to watching?

Pearce: Roberto Firmino. He's so key to the way Klopp's side play.

Hunter: Salah, obviously, but - just to give a different name - Naby Keita.

King: I've spoken about Keita in a previous answer and I'd imagine he will be a popular answer to this question so I'm going to say Virgil van Dijk. He was immaculate at times in his first six months and, with a better understanding of what is required from him, he can prove himself one of the top defenders in Europe.

Maddock: Will be fascinated to see the impact a massive talent like Keita will have in replacing the limited potential of Can, but c'mon... it has to be Mo, doesn't it?!

Price: Aside from Mane, I'm looking forward to seeing how Trent Alexander-Arnold kicks on this year. He was tested on the biggest stages of all last season and didn't look out of place in the slightest. Liverpool really do have sublime talent on their hands. If he does stay as a right-back then Liverpool perhaps have that position sorted for the next 10-12 years.

One hope as a reporter this season?

Pearce: To see Liverpool lift a trophy. Wembley 2012 seems a long time ago...

Hunter: That the WiFi works.

King: Same as every year: to cover a successful team and write on the games that matter. Last season's run to the Champions League final was what it is all about. To cover a title challenge would be another step up again.

Maddock: That a team playing bold, attacking, expressive football wins the Premier League.

Price: I'm relatively new to the Liverpool patch, so the run to Kiev was my first real experience of the truly unique atmospheres Anfield can produce. I hope they're still around this season - they add so much to occasions. The incredible level of noise doesn't half make an impact. For me sitting in the press box for the Champions League quarter-final and semi-final, it became difficult to concentrate and string together a sentence on your laptop because the noise is just so intense. Now imagine being an opposing player having to keep your cool in that sort of environment and communicate with teammates etc.? It was a privilege to be in attendance for some of last season's Champions League nights.

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