As yet another interminable international break drags on, I find myself wondering what another trophyless season would mean for Liverpool Football Club. Our defeat to West Ham United a week or so ago has left us four point from the top of the Premier League table, whilst another one when the proper football returns would allow Arsenal to leapfrog us. Even ignoring the pain of losing two games in a row, it would suddenly mean that our 5-0 win over Manchester United could end up being the only highlight of the campaign before Santa has even climbed down our chimneys. That might sound bleak, but a win for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side would see them move seven points clear of us if we lost to the Gunners, which would be pretty close to insurmountable even if this doesn’t end up as a season in which the title-winners claim 90+ points. It would also put massive pressure on the Reds to win the Champions League, given how many fans view the domestic cups.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 15, 2021
Should Liverpool once again finish the campaign without a trophy, no sensible fans will turn on the manager. It will, however, increase the pressure on the owners to make the correct moves in the transfer market and release more funds than they have been willing to during most of their time in charge. All the majority of us want is for the manager to be given the best tools to do the job, with only the weirdos demanding that we go out and spend hundreds of millions every time the transfer window opens. We know that we’re not Manchester City, Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain, so we’re never going to be splashing an amount of money that would make a Tory cabinet minister blush. So far the Fenway Sports Group model has just about worked because of the genius of Jürgen Klopp, but another campaign without silverware to show for it would prove that there are some things that even the best manager in the world can’t help you get around.
The Players Deserve More
When Mohamed Salah hangs up his boots for the final time, he’ll take a look at a trophy cabinet that contains at least the Premier League, the European Cup, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup. Most players would be jealous of that list, yet the Egyptian deserves so much more to go alongside his name and I’m not entirely convinced that two Swiss Super Leagues tick that particular box. Salah isn’t alone, of course. From Virgil van Dijk to Jordan Henderson via Alisson Becker and Sadio Mané, there are players throughout this Liverpool side that deserve to be thought of as all-time greats. Whilst they’ll go down in history as being part of the team that won number six and finally added the Premier League trophy to the cabinet, are those two things alone enough to mean that they’ll always have the level of respect that they undoubtedly deserve? I’m not entirely convinced on that front, so I want more to be added to remove any doubt.
#LFC goalkeeper Alisson Becker says the team will not be satisfied with just regaining the Premier League title this season…🎯🏆
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 13, 2021
The reality is that time is running out for some of these players. Football careers are short-lived and I’m not sure that any of them will be happy with only having two majors honours to their names. As a group that gave us everything we could ever have wanted, they deserve more than to end their careers with so little to show for. That’s not me being facetious, given I know that the Premier League and the Champions League are two of the biggest trophies in world football. I just mean that they have played some of the best football that I’ve ever seen and the record deserves to show as much. It is why I wanted them to set the highest ever points total and go unbeaten when they won the league in 2019-2020, not because either of those things matter but because they’re achievements that will be all but impossible to replicate in the future. We are close to the Premier League title slipping too far from our grasp, which would be heart-breaking for many.
Time Is Running Out For The Manager
As things currently stand, Jürgen Klopp’s contract to be Liverpool manager runs out in the summer of 2024. Whilst speculation about the next person to take charge of the club ramped up when Steven Gerrard signed a contract with Aston Villa that runs out at the same time, all we can say for certain right now is that the German’s time in charge of the Reds will come to an end in under three years time. What that means is that his chance of adding more silverware to the cabinet is limited by time, so we really need to strike whilst the iron’s hot. Regardless of how he finishes his career, the calls to name a stand after him or build a statue in his honour will be loud when he finally departs the dugout, such is the extent to which winning the Premier League has put him in the pantheon of Liverpool greats from the past. There will unquestionably be a sense of disappointment for many, though, if he only managed to win the won top-flight title during his time at the club.
Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool – Contract runs until the summer of 2024.
Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa – Contract runs until the summer of 2024. pic.twitter.com/XLIeR6Vp6R
— sPEeeeee (@SeyipEteRs_) November 11, 2021
This season might well be the last time that the manager gets to go for a trophy with the team that helped him win the last two big ones we added to the cabinet. Whilst the man himself would be happy to work with whoever, he has a sense of loyalty that means he’d love to do it again with the boys that saw him hit the big time in the past. A trophyless season this time around would diminish his ability to do as much, which would be a crying shame for everyone involved. Having been operating with one hand tied behind his back and still doing wonders, the cries for the owners to untie his other hand and set him up to win would grow to almost deafening levels. Whilst it is likely to take a while before Newcastle United get to be involved in the conversation around title challenges, it won’t be that long and even Klopp’s ability to take on the richest clubs would be tested to the extreme if another one was added to the list. Win trophies whilst we can, worry about the rest later.