MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – After spending around 2 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) on players across the 20 clubs, the Premier League has set itself up for another pulsating season of excitement, disappointment, protests, managerial sackings, failure and glory.
Yet there is barely time for the ink to dry on the new contracts signed on Thursday’s deadline day before the teams are back out on the field and the reality of just how much each club has truly strengthened becomes clear.
Everton fans could allow themselves some cause for optimism after several signings, but by Saturday lunchtime, Frank Lampard’s side will be taking on the firepower of Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.
Although Liverpool made a stuttering start to the season, Darwin Nunez, Liverpool’s main summer signing, is available again after suspension and the 9-0 win over Bournemouth and the last-second 2-1 victory over Newcastle suggest normal service has been resumed for Klopp’s side.
Lampard, whose team battled against relegation last season and have yet to win this time around, has several new faces as options with midfielders Idrissa Gueye and James Garner signing on deadline day and forward Neal Maupay a recent addition from Brighton and Hove Albion.
Everton have won just one of their last 26 meetings in all competitions with their neighbours.
Manchester United, who have won their last three games, spent over 200 million pounds — over half of it on Brazilians Casemiro and Antony — but on Sunday they face Arsenal, the only team in the league with a 100% record.
Mikel Arteta moved smartly in the window to add Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City but the trip to Old Trafford is the toughest test yet for the Gunners.
Manager Steven Gerrard is under pressure at Aston Villa, who have lost four of their five outings and host Manchester City on Saturday.
Champions City have quickly hit their stride with new signing Erling Haaland having scored nine goals in his first five games, including hat-tricks in the last two matches.
Former Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his debut in attack for Chelsea in their London derby against West Ham after completing a late move from Barcelona.
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(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)