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After Freedom Day, Jason Pettigove looks at how fans returning in their masses will affect teams heading into the new Premier League season.

As the country reopens again with the signalling of ‘Freedom Day,’ football clubs in general stand to benefit from welcoming back supporters for the first time in 18 months.

However, some Premier League sides need the adrenalin rush that thousands of fans in the stands bring more than others.

Take Leeds United for example.

Marcelo Bielsa had come oh so close to taking his swashbuckling side into the English top-flight a year before he did so, ultimately losing out to Frank Lampard’s Derby County.

When they did eventually make it to the promised land, for the first time in a decade and a half, there were no supporters at Elland Road that were able to share in the joy.

Leeds were wonderful to watch in any event, and one can only marvel at how well they did in certain games against the supposed ‘big boys.’ With the backing of their faithful, don’t be surprised to see them pushing on again in 2021/22.

Newcastle’s troubling 2020/21 certainly wasn’t helped by having a cavernous St. James’ Park stood empty.

With just as much upheaval going on off the pitch as well as on it, 55,000 passionate Magpies fans would almost certainly have given Steve Bruce’s side the lift they so obviously needed at various times throughout the campaign.

A reported further delay with regards to a takeover won’t do them any favours at the outset of the new campaign, but the vocal backing of the die-hards, famously one of the more passionate fan bases in the country, will more than make up for it.

Clearly, the likes of Brentford, Norwich City and Watford will need as many fans in their stadiums as possible, as they look to consolidate in the top-flight.

The latter pair have become ‘yo-yo’ clubs to an extent, whilst the west Londoners have a shot at the big time for the first time in their history.

Of the other sides in the division, Merseyside giants Everton and Liverpool could have vastly differing perspectives with crowds coming back to Goodison Park and Anfield respectively.

If Rafa Benitez doesn’t hit the ground running with the Toffees, the murmurs are likely to begin quickly, and there’s no hiding place in a tightly-packed Goodison.

Get it right, and he’ll take the roof off., and the noise will certainly be heard across Stanley Park where Jurgen Klopp will need the Kop rocking once more.

Anfield has always been a fortress for Liverpool. Playing towards the Kop in the second half of games is really something to behold, and the famous old saying of the ‘ball being sucked into the net’ is acknowledged.

Injuries notwithstanding last season, with no home crowd to roar Liverpool on away sides were no longer frightened of going there and imposing themselves.

Some surprising results soon followed but expect that to change as soon as the new season begins.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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