This Liverpool team is too good to be judged by it’s trophies
As the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 draw took place, there was one team that everyone wanted to avoid. Liverpool Football Club. Every club at the first pot felt like there was no point in finishing top of the group if their reward was to face Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool and that all their hard work could be easily undone in, about, 180 minutes.
At the time of writing, Liverpool sit top of the Premier League with 45 points after 17 games, unbeaten, and one point above their main rivals for the title, Manchester City. All that, after navigating the most difficult group of this season’s Champions League while Pep Guardiola’s men had a fairly easier ride — Even though Lyon gave them two games they’ll not forget anytime soon and other clubs will definitely use it as a blueprint of how to beat them.
Jürgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool with huge expectations and it’s fair to say he has fulfilled them so far, but there comes a point where a great team capable of great results and a side that makes every other manager feel a tingle down his spine at the prospect of facing them is not enough to satisfy most people. They’ll judge his tenure at Anfield on whether he won titles or not.
While that is understandable to an extent, it feels like we’re undermining just how good the team he built is.
Liverpool could finish the season without a single piece of silverware to show for their efforts, since they’re up against, probably, the best Premier League side ever in the form of Manchester City and the domestic run will, undoubtedly, take it’s toll on their Champions League campaign, sooner or later. They’re up against a side that broke the 100-point barrier for the first time in Premier League’s history last season and only got better for the current one. If Liverpool eventually fall short on their hunt, can you honestly blame Klopp and his men?
It’s not that Liverpool shouldn’t be expected to win trophies — they should — but it shouldn’t be the be all and end all. If Pep’s team end up lifting the trophy in May, it should not undermine the terrific job being done at the red side of Merseyside.
Make no mistake, Liverpool are here to stay and they’ll push Manchester City all the way to the end in the title race this season. This is not a one-off and Klopp is building a team capable of pushing on several fronts for a long, long, time.
Trophies matter, and they matter big time, but they can’t be the sole base of judgement of a great team. You can’t watch Liverpool this season and say they’re not one of the best teams in the world, and it’s not their fault that their main rivals are also one of the best teams in the world. Only one of those teams can win the league, so what about the other? Are they less brilliant just because their counterpart was better? If so, what’s the point of watching football?
For an English club, for instance, the season starts with four trophies on the line, two of which are minor — the League Cup and the FA Cup. It’s highly unlikely any of them could manage to win the double and end the season with both Premier League’s and Champions League’s trophies to show for, for several reasons — like calendar and the quality of competition at the top end of the league — , and the European tournaments are difficult by themselves and have several other great teams from different countries challenging for, so we’re realistically facing a situation where there’s one major trophy for six clubs to challenge for and the rest of them are mostly fed by scraps the whole season.
No disrespect for the domestic cups, but can you honestly say that winning the League Cup or the FA Cup means that the winners are better than a Premier League runner-up, solely based on that? Just look at Mourinho’s United or the last days of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Both of them had recent success on cups, but can you say that Arsenal and Manchester United are better than Klopp’s Liverpool because of it? Liverpool are already out of this season’s League cup, while Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal still have a shot to win it, but they’re not better than Liverpool and they’ll not be if they go on to win the thing.
Come May, I’m sure we’ll have witnessed a great, entertaining, magical season with several moments to look back to and savour it, and that’s the best feeling in the world. I want to win the league as much as any Liverpool fan, but I’m one hundred per cent sure that this is the best Liverpool side I have ever witnessed and I don’t need a trophy to enjoy that. Let’s focus on the ride and, hopefully, we’ll be celebrating when it’s time.