Richard Buxton: Nightmare at Anfield ahead for newcomers Norwich City
We look at six of the best picks from the EPL's opening weekend
LIVERPOOL v NORWICH CITY
The transformation into"mentality giants" took Liverpool to the pinnacle of Europe and within a point of the English Premier League title last season.
Juergen Klopp clearly fancies a repeat performance.
Incremental changes have been the Reds manager's order of business this summer, with only like-for-like additions and slow-burner signings making their way to Anfield.
Aside from youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott, former West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian constitutes the only major arrival, having replaced Simon Mignolet, who joined Club Brugge.
Flickers of the team that pushed Manchester City every step of the way last term were belatedly evident in the Community Shield defeat.
Sadio Mane's likely return will restore a full-strength forward line that will be the stuff of nightmares for Daniel Farke's newcomers.
Norwich City surpassed expectations en route to the English Premier League, despite modest recruitment.
They have persisted with that policy, with the £750,000 (S$1.3m) signing of Sam Byram from West Ham their biggest permanent outlay so far.
Starting their fifth spell in the EPL at Anfield, however, is far from ideal for the Canaries against a team they have failed to beat since The Kop's terrace closed 25 years ago.
They have also shipped 23 goals on trips to the red half of Merseyside in the EPL era, with over half of that number coming on their previous four visits.
That tally will probably swell even further by the weekend's close.
Prediction: Liverpool to win 5-0
WEST HAM v MAN CITY
Improving on perfection has become Pep Guardiola's forte throughout his managerial career.
But advancing a City team that have swept all before them domestically and redefined the competitive standard in the past two seasons threatens to be his greatest challenge of all.
The champions remain imposing and will likely claim a third successive league title.
Yet, they still have significant obstacles to overcome, or at least bridge, following a summer of mini-upheaval.
Vincent Kompany's departure eroded City's wealth of senior experience.
Uncertainty also threatens, with Bayern Munich continuing to circle Leroy Sane, who is expected to miss the trip to the English capital with a knee injury picked up in the Community Shield.
Guardiola does at least finally have a long-term successor to Fernandinho, with Rodri's capture from Atletico Madrid already proving an inspired signing.
His predecessor at the Etihad Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini, has assembled a West Ham squad finally capable of pushing on.
In Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals, the Hammers have discovered potential missing links that could see their perennial status as London's poor-relation club finally brought to an end.
Even with Sane, Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero all uncertain through injury and fitness issues, City should still pick up where they left off just three short months ago.
Prediction: City to win 3-1
TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA
The picture has never appeared so promising, and yet so bleak, for Tottenham Hotspur.
Signings have been made and a new stadium to call their own now dominates the north London skyline.
Yet all is still not well with Mauricio Pochettino.
A fiery public outburst at the Lilywhites' transfer policy last month suggested the Argentinian coach has reached the end of his tether after years of boardroom autonomy.
Deep down, even Pochettino knows that his Spurs cannot disrupt the EPL's new world order.
Outside of City and Liverpool, Spurs are destined to scrap for the best-of-the-rest title.
They still face an uphill task in that field, not least with injuries and suspensions ahead of the visit of Dean Smith's side to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Son Heung Min, Serge Aurier, Dele Alli and Eric Dier heading up the casualty list.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, are hoping to be more Wolverhampton Wanderers and less Fulham in their post-promotion existence. Spending over £100m on 13 players could go either way.
Mistakes made last summer ultimately cost the Londoners their top-flight status.
History is littered with examples of how Villa have got things massively wrong. The opportunity to re-establish themselves as top-flight mainstays cannot be left to chance again.
Prediction: Spurs to win 3-0
NEWCASTLE v ARSENAL
An unloved owner, supporters on the brink of revolt and a manager under the microscope - only geography separates Newcastle United and Arsenal's current fortunes.
Under Mike Ashley's stewardship, the Magpies have become the punchline that has stopped being funny.
Where they once punched above their weight, they are now incapable of even landing a glove.
The threat of empty seats around St James' Park remains a very real one, amid rumblings of discontent at Ashley's penchant for penny-pinching and his treatment of Rafael Benitez.
Marginal gains, meanwhile, will take Unai Emery only so far this season.
Armed with Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos, Arsenal have unearthed a new and exciting attacking dimension.
Defensively, though, they still leave a lot to be desired.
The sale of captain Laurent Koscielny has added a fresh layer of vulnerability.
Emery knows he has to be more than Arsene Wenger-lite.
An Arsenal win on Tyneside will help sate the doubters and dissenters, if only for one weekend.
Prediction: Arsenal to win 2-1
LEICESTER v WOLVES
Two blue-sky thinkers could soon be taking a sledgehammer to the EPL's top six.
Wolves' seventh-place finish last term surprised everyone, but the follow-up is often more difficult.
Nuno Espirito Santo has retained the core of his squad from the previous campaign, alongside the addition of striker Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan.
Returns to fitness for the talismanic Raul Jimenez and a similarly dependable Matt Doherty could make for a difficult afternoon at the King Power Stadium for a resurgent Leicester City.
Brendan Rodgers knows the importance of grasping opportunities. He rode the crest of one during his time as Liverpool manager in 2013/14, and narrowly missed out on the EPL title.
But the Northern Irishman is out to prove that he is no one-season wonder and moved swiftly to land Ayoze Perez and retain Youri Tielemans' services for a combined £70m this summer.
Three years since the greatest footballing miracle of all-time, the Foxes have still managed to retain the bulk of their spine.
But they will more than meet their match in their Midland rivals.
MAN UNITED v CHELSEA
Mega-money mercenaries are no longer the flavour of the month for these top-four hopefuls.
Manchester United refuse to continually throw good money at bad signings, while Chelsea simply cannot spend it.
Both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard cracked the game's highest level as players for their respective clubs, but are already finding the dugout to be a very different prospect.
The Red Devils manager favoured a predominantly home-grown transfer wish list with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, now the world's most expensive defender, adding much-needed reinforcement to Old Trafford's previously porous backline.
Daniel James, meanwhile, offers options in farther afield as Solskjaer deliberates over his best attacking options.
For Lampard, meanwhile, the pressure is off. Losing Eden Hazard and enduring a transfer ban is more of a blessing than a curse at this stage.
After all, he can only do so much with tied hands.
Losing to United is unlikely to change that view.
Prediction: Man United to win 2-0.