Gary Neville on tough times for Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa
Gary Neville says Liverpool need Suarez, Spurs will find it tough and Villa could be in big trouble.
Last Updated: 16/07/13 8:53am
The new Premier League season can't be far away!
That means Sky Sports expert Gary Neville will soon be back on your screens and even though he's been enjoying some much-deserved time off, he's still been keeping a close eye on all of the hot topics of the summer.
Opinionated as ever, he has been giving his views on how things are shaping up ahead of the new season, including some of the big transfer tales of the summer.
Here, he looks at how the future of Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale could have an impact on the top-four hopes of Liverpool and Tottenham - and how Christian Benteke's transfer request could throw Aston Villa into deep trouble...
Gary on the Luis Suarez saga
If Liverpool were to lose Luis Suarez you'd have to say it would be a huge blow.
The goals he scored last season and his performance level until the last part of the season when he was suspended was fantastic. He was well in contention to be the Football Writers' and Players' Player of the Year.
You never know who Liverpool might have lined up to replace him, but if they've got aspirations of getting in the Champions League I think it's important to keep him as a message, to say 'we want to get back up into those Champions League spaces again.'
Brendan Rodgers had a period last year where he was settling in to the club and everybody accepted that. The media and everybody looked at what he was doing and said he needed some time to put his philosophy in place and to get to where he needed to get to.
This year they are expecting an improvement from that and he'll be expecting an improvement. I think losing Luis Suarez would be something that would be detrimental.
I think it's critical that Suarez stays at Liverpool, for their sake.
Gary on a tough year ahead for Tottenham
Tottenham last season should really have got into the top four. With the position that they were in when they beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane, I never thought for one minute at that point that Tottenham wouldn't get into the top four.
Losing Sandro was a big problem for them and really set them back. The fact they didn't have more back-up in the centre-forward position and were heavily reliant on Bale may have cost them in the end.
But generally you'd have to say it was a pretty good performance last year from Tottenham. But you always wonder if they've got it in them to go again, to spend big or get the players in that will make the breakthrough that they need.
Manchester United, Chelsea and City will be there - you can't think how those three won't be there - so you're talking about Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Last year was potentially a bigger opportunity for Tottenham to get in the top four than this year. This year will be tougher for them because I think Arsenal will improve greatly from where they were last season and I think you'll see them sign two or three players that will really take them forward.
Tottenham will have to do the same and it goes without saying that if they lost Bale that would be a massive blow to them, but at the moment there's no noises coming out that are suggesting he's wanting to leave or that Tottenham are willing to sell.
Gary on Aston Villa's relegation fears
One thing I found in the first year of doing Monday Night Football - I was a bit naïve to be fair - was that I stood up there every Monday night and made an absolute fool of myself when I tried to pick relegation.
I remember thinking Wigan were gone with 10 games to go in the year before last, but they went on an incredible run. Last year, because of the incredible run the year before you almost thought Wigan would get out of it - but they ended up going down. You can really look a fool in terms of relegation.
I think the interesting club to look at, for me, is Aston Villa. Everybody will have seen the Benteke news and the fact he's put in a transfer request. Obviously it's a team game and a squad game, but his impact on them staying up last year was enormous.
I know he was supported by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia and Andy Weimann towards the end and they really were a threat on the counter-attack with their pace up front, but I think this year you wouldn't want to see Aston Villa scrambling around again.
That's a really interesting one in terms of how they cope with the Benteke situation. Last year it was close for them and now they've got their star player asking for a transfer.
They are the interesting one in this early part of pre-season.