Liverpool have won the league, but what now? For the club, for their fans, for everyone…
“It’s a really weird feeling, because this has been the journey [for the last 30 years]. All we’ve ever thought about is winning this league, and now it’s there. But what did I do to celebrate? I took the bins out. I made a cup of tea. It’s all so odd.
“In terms of emotion, I’m already looking forward to next season, or whenever we can return [to Anfield]. In my mind now, I do want to win it “properly” with everyone there.”
Sasha Guryunov, who as regular listeners will know has the capacity to get emotional about Liverpool, was left with a strange feeling after they finally won the league on Thursday evening. You can only brew up and take the bins out so emphatically.
But in our emergency ‘Liverpool have won the league’ pod, we were able to reflect on just how extraordinary this season has been for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“I think Liverpool are right up there with the best Premier League teams of all time,” said Michael Cox. “They’ve been so good that I don’t think their final points total will actually reflect how dominant they have been.
“They’ve semi-revolutionised the game in terms of their full-backs. We’ve never seen such dominant full-backs from a Premier League side.
“And also the way they play up front, with Firmino dropping deep and Mane and Salah – that will be remembered as one of the best front threes the Premier League has ever seen.”
The numbers were pretty impressive too, as Duncan Alexander outlined: “We’re in weird scenario in that we’ve got a team winning the title earlier than ever in terms of games – the record before that was five, which has been done four times – but it’s the latest title ever won. The only other team to win a title in June was Liverpool in 1947, because of the bad winter.
“They’re the first team to win the title after the summer solstice, but I don’t think the sun is going to set on this team anytime soon.
“They’re the first team to win the title in eight different decades, they’ve got the chance to be the first team since Sunderland in the 19th century to win every single home game, and they’ve even got the chance to break Juventus’s record of 102 points, which they set in 2013/14 – that’s the most by a team in the big five leagues in Europe.”
What has changed since last season? Why have they been able to streak so far ahead of Manchester City?
Sasha said: “I think the big thing they built on from last season is they became better at pacing themselves through the season, pacing themselves through games. There have been so many games they’ve won by one goal, but you can see that they’re thinking ahead.
“I know managers say “we take one game at a time”, but in Klopp’s situation they’re clearly thinking ahead so they’re not running around, massively putting the effort in if they don’t have to. They can just see the game out, and we’ve seen that so many times this season. They’re becoming smarter and smarter.”
So what now? Neil Atkinson from the Anfield Wrap is already looking ahead to how Liverpool can maintain this position.
“It’s worth pointing out that all three of the front three are in their late 20s, which is one of the reasons this team has peaked collectively. There are a lot of players aged between around 25-30.
“There will need to be improvement, but what the points buffer does looking ahead to next season, is Liverpool can have a season or summer of mini transition, where other teams are going to have to rise to the challenge and Liverpool have a 12-point buffer where they can afford to dip down a little bit.
“All good sides need renovation as they go. I expect Liverpool will do some of that renovation over the next two summers, in order to ensure they stay at European football’s absolute elite level, not just for a couple of years, not even just to when Klopp’s contract runs out, but to look to the next decade.”
And when Klopp does leave, they presumably won’t experience the drop-off that others have, as Duncan Alexander pointed out:
“That’s where football has changed a lot over the last decade. If you look at Wenger or Ferguson, they were kind of Medieval kings, they controlled everything at the club. That’s less the now: obviously Klopp is a massive influence, but top clubs are organised in a way that, yes, an epoch-defining manager leaving would be a big blow, but it’s not going to be the same as a Wenger leaving Arsenal or Ferguson leaving United.”
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