What Will Success Look Like For Liverpool This Season?

As the 2021-2022 campaign reached its climax, Liverpool were 180 minutes away from immortality. There are numerous ‘sliding doors’ moments that we could think about, such as if Emiliano Martínez had been fit enough to start in goal for Aston Villa or if French police had been competent enough to do their job before the Champions League final. Sadly, neither of those two things happened, meaning that we will forever wonder what might have been. Having already won the League Cup and FA Cup, the Reds were a clean sheet for the Villains away from adding the Premier League title to that trophy haul and only a Thibaut Courtois masterclass stopped us from making it an unprecedented quadruple. Though many of the players have spoken this summer about taking things one step further, the reality is that the likelihood of us being able to push on all four fronts once again is slim to none. The squad is in good health, but it’s just too bit an ask, in my opinion.

With that in mind, I found myself wondering what a successful season would look like this time around. I have written numerous times about the fact that I think Jürgen Klopp and his team are entitled to feel cheated by Manchester City. If it weren’t for the sports-washing operation taking place at the Etihad, the German and his side would have won the top-flight league title enough times to leave our old foe from the same city as Pep Guardiola’s team in the dust. Instead, we’ve been pipped to the post twice in cruel fashion, entirely thanks to the huge amounts of money that have been invested into a team that should never really have been in the conversation. Sadly, they are part of the conversation and, with the signing of Erling Haaland, are likely to notch even more points up this season. Whilst we’d all love to win the Premier League again, would not winning it be something of a failure, or can we have a grown-up conversation about it all?

Either Of ‘The Big Two’ Would Be Good

In a perfect world, UEFA, the Premier League and football’s other governing bodies would get their act together and ensure that Financial Fair Play rules were upheld. The cheating of clubs like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United, done in an attempt to clean up the image of the murderous, homophobic, misogynistic regimes that own them, wouldn’t be allowed. Instead, such clubs can seemingly spend as much money as they want without any repercussions. The result of that is that Liverpool fans can no longer be sniffy about what we consider to be success. It goes without saying that the Reds are a super club, but we are run in a much more sustainable manner than those owned by a state. What that means is that we need to be run in a financially sound manner, which I personally am very much in favour of. The second that we get bought by a country that abuses human rights is the moment that I stop following football.

If Liverpool manage to make it to another Champions League final and this time win the thing, I’ll be jumping for joy. Similarly, if Manchester City struggle to find the balance when it comes to removing a midfielder in order to accommodate Erling Haaland and we pip to them to the Premier League title, I’ll be equally cock-a-hoop. In an era of sports-washing, winning either of the big two has to be seen as unadulterated success. If we somehow contrive to find a way to win both of them, it will go down as one of the greatest season’s in this club’s history. Assuming that we have no major injury setbacks like we did during the 2020-2021 campaign, I see no reason why we can’t at least challenge for the two biggest trophies in club football. Whilst the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will unquestionably have something to say about it, Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp are not a force to be taken lightly. We can win the lot, as we came so close to proving last season.

Any Silverware Will Be A Success

Make no mistake, I think what the Reds achieved last season was phenomenal. If two or three moments had gone our way, we’d have won the lot. That we were stopped from winning one piece of silverware by UEFA’s darlings in Real Madrid and lost out on the other by a single point thanks to Pep Guardiola’s expensively assembled side is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, the fact that we were able to win the two domestic trophies is something to be celebrated, which is why I was delighted to see so many people turn out for the trophy parade the day after our disappointment in Paris. Despite what their swivel-eyed supporters might claim, Manchester City have spent so much money as to mean that they should be winning every trophy that they enter every single year. Add to that that our wins in the FA Cup and League Cup came against a Chelsea side that had been put together thanks to the wealth of an oligarch and what we achieved was even more impressive.

There is no surprise in the fact that supporters of other clubs were quick to mock the Reds for having the trophy parade. When you see fans of Everton, who only stayed in the Premier League thanks to some incredibly fortuitous decisions, choosing to take the Mickey, you know that we must be doing something right. Us Liverpool supporters also need to be careful not to play down the magnitude of the achievement that winning any sort of silverware actually is. We don’t exist in a world where small teams like Wigan or Everton themselves can win a domestic trophy any more. This will be the ten year anniversary of Wigan’s FA Cup success and only they and Portsmouth won the trophy outside of the top ten in the previous 27 years. In the League Cup, only Swansea City have won the competition in the last decade and not been from Manchester, London or Liverpool. For me, any silverware should be seen as success in the era of sports-washing.

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