soh what next? Where is Liverpool heading from here? This season was very close to perfection. Less Manchester City goal or more Aston Villa on the final day of the season and the Premier League title would be Liverpool’s title. Thibaut Courtois didn’t save a single chance and they would have taken the Champions League final into overtime. The quartet were never very close to any club, yet Liverpool were no better than a draw with Arsenal in 1992-93, and with all due respect to Steve Morrow, John Jensen and Andy Linnigan, no one spoke of them as one of the greatest sides of all time.
Contexts change of course. This is a very good team. Jurgen Klopp and the huge team of specialists behind them have created something extraordinary, an exciting team that has managed to keep up with Manchester City for spending less than Everton – even if they only beat them for the title once.
This city is a great team, but assembled at a tremendous cost, from the training facilities to the backroom staff to the manager and roster. And unlike most previous massive investments in football, City has been very cleverly engineered. In recent years, there have been no ego signatures, and very little growling.
Staying on hand for over six years with a net transfer spend of just £200m is great. However, the financial structures that are being relied upon against Liverpool in this regard when looking up also plays in their favour when looking down. They are among the elite in England due to their history and the investment of the Fenway Sports Group (which, lest anyone forget, was a year ago very keen to jump on the Super League project). Impressive because they can continue to follow City, there has to be a feeling that they have to be better than most Premier League players.
It is understood that Klopp has largely despised domestic titles in the past. Winning the silver is important and they had to beat City and Chelsea in the semi-finals and final this season, but what they have to do is keep Shrewsbury, Cardiff, Norwich and Nottingham Forest out. This brings us to one of the paradoxes posed by modern football and its finances: Liverpool’s greatest achievement is not so much titles as staying in the league; It is less of what they earned than what they didn’t quite get.
Which brings us to another point about scale, which is that winning is part of scale. Klopp’s genius is clear. He created a (second) team in his image, was one of the two main figures who defined modern football and has done so in both the Bundesliga and the Premier League with fewer resources than his closest competitors. Oddly enough, though, he won so few finals.
He lost six finals between 2013 and 2018. Although Liverpool won the League Cup and the FA Cup that season, they needed penalty kicks on both counts (which Klopp must credit for having brought on Neo11, a German company that specializes in football). Neurological diseases) ; Getting 18 out of 19 penalties isn’t definitive proof of his success, but it’s very good evidence.) They didn’t score in the five and a half hours of play in the final. Klopp is very detail-oriented, tireless in pursuit of an advantage, and worries at least a little, especially in the context of other recent disappointments.
There is more that Liverpool have not defeated any of the other teams that have qualified for the top four in the league this season. Could their technique of high-intensity transformations be less effective against opponents who have more possession and are less likely to panic in the attack? Perhaps that is why Thiago Alcantara seems so important to Liverpool, as a player who can add that extra bit of quality, those clever touches that can unleash the best defences. The fact that Klopp played with him from the start when there were many doubts about his fitness, warming up separately from the other junior players, indicates how important it is to see him; Since they are not effective, that may have been a mistake.
Saturday’s oddity was how quickly the game settled into its pattern as both seemed to accept their roles. The impression was that Liverpool lacked a bit of precision and didn’t have the skill that would set them apart at their best. But the truth is, that wasn’t a huge surprise.
Again, that’s a problem in modern football, where margins are too good for the elite, but Liverpool haven’t felt their best since the March international break – a streak in which the team played 16 games, won and lost. 11 has only one (and out of four draws, one was the FA Cup Final which they won on penalties; one was in the second leg of the Champions League match they had already comfortably won and the other was against City).
Once again it was the case of Liverpool struggling to open up a top-tier opposition. This is Liverpool with the second-highest points total that hasn’t won the league. They are ridiculously good. But to be great, win the biggest trophies and beat City, they might just need a little more cunning.