GLEN JOHNSON: With the Premier League returning this week, Glen Johnsons shares his thoughts on live football without fans, as well as the impact a title win will have on the city of Liverpool, and the relegation battle.

Project restart

I, like many, tuned into the first set of Premier League fixtures on Thursday evening and it was a weird experience for sure. Beggars can’t be choosers in these situations and it’s fantastic that we’ve got live football back, but it’s definitely going to take some time to get used to.

I can’t say I’m a massive fan of the artificial fan noise. It’s virtually impossible to recreate the atmosphere of a proper match and I thought it just added to the weirdness of the whole experience. It’s not going to be like it was before the break, but that’s what we’ve got to get used to and as I said, this is the best scenario we are going to get.

Title win will see Liverpool’s popularity rise further

It’s obviously going to be a different reaction to normal when Liverpool do win the title, but that won’t stop the joy in the city. It won’t just be for those involved in football who see the benefits of a Liverpool title win – local tourism could benefit too, when football fans from across the world can travel again, as I think even greater numbers will want to head to Anfield to see this team play – which can only be a good thing for the city. The success for Liverpool will be cheered around the world – Liverpool are absolutely mega in territories such as Asia and the success they are having will only drive that further forward.  

Relegation battle

The battle for survival looks like it’s going to go right down to the wire and apart from Norwich, who look cut adrift, there’s a hatful of teams who could still go down. It’s very hard to make a prediction on who those teams will be, though, because it’s almost impossible to know how each team is going to perform in the remaining games. 

As I said, I think Norwich will really struggle and I also think Aston Villa look destined to join them. My heart is saying that the other side to go down will be either Watford of Bournemouth because of my allegiance to West Ham. However, they were in a very poor stretch of form prior and if they don’t pick things up, they’ll be in trouble too. 

I do think the break will benefit the teams at the bottom more than anyone. They are where they are because they haven’t been playing well and so to be given the opportunity to re-group and get their players back from injury can only benefit their cause. They’ll be hoping to catch some of the teams higher up in the table cold and beat them which is entirely possible given the length of time the league has been off for.

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