Dubai: Former Liverpool star Jason McAteer insists this will finally be Liverpool’s year to lay their Premier League demons to rest and put their hands on the title trophy.
For 30 years, the Anfield club have come up short — most recently in agonising fashion as they missed out on the top-flight English title by a single point to Manchester City last season — and the European champions still have a glaring omission on their CV: Zero Premier League trophies.
However, former Liverpool favourite McAteer, who is in town to promote the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series Grand Final — which runs alongside the Mike Clark Golf Day at Jumeirah Golf Course on November 7 - thinks that is all about to change
Jurgen Klopp helped his side lift the Champions League trophy in June and has opened up six-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League title race this campaign. McAteer believes that the character and experience the men in red have garnered over the past 12 months will help them get over the line and claim their first Premier League title this time around.
“The optimism and belief Klopp has instilled in the players will get them to the title this year,” said McAteer. “They are playing really well domestically and in Europe and they are now going into every match thinking: ‘We have to come home with a win.’ And they have the confidence to do just that, regardless of who they are playing.
“Before (last season) they seemed to be going into matches hoping to win, now they go into them insisting they will win.
“Last season, Liverpool were amazing and they were only beaten by an exceptional City side. I wasn’t sure they had that belief. But it is there now.
“I was with the team on their pre-season tour in the United States and they clearly have a different mentality.”
While McAteer is bullish about Liverpool’s chances, he still thinks there is room for improvement.
“I think they need to bring in a solid centre-half to help out Virgil van Dijk in defence. That is the only place where they seem to be lacking. If Virgil gets injured then they could be in trouble. But every team needs a bit of luck to win trophies and the luck has been with Liverpool so far this season.”
McAteer will be playing in the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series Grand Final, which begins at 1pm on the Jumeirah Fire Course alongside former British & Irish Lions rugby player Simon Shaw, plus Irish pop stars Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy
McAteer and Shaw will also host a Q&A session following the day’s action at an evening barbecue, which begins at 7pm. The event is open to the public — both golfers and non-golfers alike — and tickets start at Dh595 and can be booked online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It is a privilege and honour to be invited to play in this event,” said McAteer. “I only hope I can do what I can to help out for what is a great cause.”
This year, the event is raising funds for Randolph Palomar, a 13-year-old Filipino boy in Dubai who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016.