Trophy-hungry Liverpool begin quest for more
Liverpool begin their defence of the European Cup on Tuesday and the signs are that the glory days are here to stay at Anfield.
Lauded for their dominance at both home and abroad in the 1970s and 80s, Liverpool have never been able to repeat the trick on a sustained basis since. However, following last season’s Champions League triumph, there is reason to believe we could be witnessing the start of another trophy-laden period for the Reds.
After failing to conquer Europe in 2018 when losing the final to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp’s side gathered themselves and – to use a now-popular, modern mantra – they were able to ‘go again’ last term – all the way to the final, where this time they saw off Tottenham 2-0 on a hot, early June evening in Madrid to lift the trophy.
That Liverpool were able to do it, as well as maintaining a relentless push for the Premier League title, underlines the quality and strength in depth of the current Anfield crop. Put simply, this is a side that is not going away and is ready to hunt for all the top trophies.
Respected pundit Gary Neville will never be a favourite on The Kop, but his honest assessment of the Merseysiders recently further outlines how good Klopp’s men are right now. Neville won everything in the game as a Manchester United player and he believes Liverpool are a “championship-winning team now”. The Reds have a level of consistency, confidence, quality and mindset to rival the very best around, as demonstrated – simply – by results on the pitch.
Liverpool have now not lost at Anfield in the league since April 2017. That’s 43 games. They have won 14 league games in a row in a run that goes back to March – the joint third-best winning run in English top-flight history – and are five points clear at the top already this time around – the biggest margin in Premier League history after five games.
Add to that their record-busting 2018-19 campaign, when they broke virtually every modern club record for points gained, lost just once all season, yet still somehow ended up second, a point behind Manchester City.
Critics will rightly point out they started last season well and still didn’t win the title, while some will point to some poor performances and results away from home in Europe last winter. However, they were able to overcome them by ensuring they were unbeatable at Anfield, demonstrated in no greater way by the stunning 4-0 home win in the semi against Barcelona after losing the first game in Catalonia 3-0.
The ‘power of Anfield’ is often mocked by rival fans but the reason why it’s talked about is that it’s a genuine, tangible feeling that has allowed Liverpool to cultivate a powerful, virtually unstoppable run, both domestically and in the Champions League. Not only in the past few years but over several decades, with numerous games in the record books that could be held up as examples to lay any myth claims to rest.
The stats don’t lie. Ahead of their 2019-20 Champions League opener, when they go to Napoli on Tuesday, expectation levels have never been higher. The problem for Liverpool’s detractors and rivals is that instead of fearing the widespread predictions for their campaign ahead, the players seem eager to embrace them.
Aidan Perkins is a senior journalist that specialises in football stories. Aidan, a Liverpool fan, also has a broad knowledge of several other sports.