Liverpool Football Club: Champions Of England

Thirty Years. The Reds have a won a lot over the course of those thirty years, from League Cups to FA Cups, UEFA Cups and European Cups. The only thing that escaped our grasp was the league title, but we don’t need to worry about that any more. Thirty years in which we’ve lost loved ones and seen new arrivals come into our lives. Thirty years when the pain of missing out on titles was alleviated by watching us win every other trophy there was to win. In the decades to come, people won’t talk about Covid-19 or the lockdown. Null and voiders will fade into the distance and the only thing people will talk about is how incredible this Liverpool team was. For those of us living through it, we’ve been able to watch greatness. Whether you’ve been in the ground or simply watching on screens all around the world, you’ve been part of something really special. Of course others will try to play it down, but they won’t succeed.

There have been countless Liverpool players and managers that have deserved to win a league title over the years but haven’t. Roy Evans, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard; they’re just a few of the names that pop into my head when I think about it. Yet I genuinely struggle to remember a squad who, virtually to a man, were so deserving of winning that first Premier League title. Ok, Dejan Lovren’s got some questionable beliefs and he isn’t exactly everyone’s favourite player, but he’s contributed to creating the club we know and love now. As for the rest of them, they’re all brilliant personalities and they totally get what the most important man of them all has been trying to do. Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfield and told us all to turn from doubters to believers. It took some people longer than others, but we’re all believers now. Current European champions. Current world champions. Current Premier League Champions. Liverpool.

Soak It All In

I’ve seen lots of Reds shy away from the idea of an asterisk being added to discussions of Liverpool’s achievement this season, but I’m not one of them. An asterisk is used to denote additional information being available and, whether we like it or not, there is additional information that future generations will need to be told about this campaign. The key thing, though, is that none of that information in any way belittles what the club has achieved. The circumstances in which the Reds have returned and done enough to be crowned champions have made it a tougher thing to achieve, not an easier one. The manner in which we took apart Crystal Palace, relentlessly pressing them and chasing down every ball even when we were four goals to the good, showed that these lads were taking nothing for granted. Put an asterisk next to the title and let people know that it was won by one of the best Premier League teams ever.

The coming days and weeks will see more and more footage of last night emerge, to say nothing of a chance for us to watch Liverpool in action a few more times. Enjoy these moments and soak them up. Speak to family and friends and recount how you went about watching the Reds become champions of England. This is what we’ve all been waiting for. I’m 37 and I can’t claim in all honesty that I really understood what football was all about the last time the league championship headed to Anfield, but I know what it’s all about now. Football has been a constant for me, through the trying times and the good. I’ve been a constant for Liverpool, when things were going badly as much as when they were going well. I feel privileged not only to have watched the Reds win the title, but to be part of what is going to come next. Enjoy every moment in the coming weeks and months, because we’ve all very much deserved it.

What’s Next?

Speaking to Sky Sports about what it was like when he won a league championship, Graeme Souness recalled Ronnie Moran putting a box of medals on the table and saying to the players, “Pick one if you think you deserve it”. The way ‘Mr Liverpool’ acted back in the 1970s and 1980s was to constantly keep the players hungry and I can imagine Jürgen Klopp behaving in the same way now. We’ll all have seen the video of the players enjoying themselves in Formby Hall and we might well discover that the German has given his squad a couple of days off now, but when they return to work he won’t let them rest on their laurels. Instead, they’ll all be asking ‘what’s next?’ The answer, I imagine, will be a plan to continue dominating English and European football for as long as possible. How easy or otherwise that will be may well depend on what happens to Manchester City with the CAS ruling, so we’ll watch that with baited breath.

City have an ageing squad and it is one that is filled with a number of players that will almost certainly consider their future if they won’t have Champions League football to play next year. It means that I don’t share the confidence of many pundits that the Cityzens will definitely be stronger next time out, whilst Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal all have a huge gap to close if they want to get close to us. They’ll need to be exceptional whilst also hoping that we drop off a fair bit, simply to make it competitive. Liverpool winning back-to-back titles isn’t an outrageous suggestion, whilst I would absolutely take us simply continuing to win trophies on a yearly basis, just as Manchester United did under Alex Ferguson, I think this manager and this set of players are capable of defending their crown. That’s for tomorrow, of course. For now, keep saying the following to yourself: Liverpool Football Club. Champions Of England.

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