First Europe, then the world and now the final frontier: England. Liverpool’s path to global domination may look a bit haphazard, but this is exactly the way it should be. The Premier League was always the one they wanted the most. It’s been an inevitability since 4.43pm on 10 November 2019, when Mo Salah’s exhilarating goal put them 2-0 up at home to Manchester City, and now it’s official: Liverpool are champions of England!
The circumstances are a bit weird, there’s no point denying it. But while Covid-19 may dilute the euphoria of the moment, it doesn’t diminish the achievement one little bit. Two years ago Liverpool finished fourth, 25 points behind Manchester City, and were just another team reduced to domestic irrelevance by Pep Guardiola. But unlike the others, and even though they had three decades of history on their back, Liverpool accepted the challenge of a City side that looked unconquerable.
Ninety-seven points were not enough to win the league last season, so Liverpool raised the bar even higher and broke City’s spirit in the process. City will be back next season, and I’m already salivating at the prospect of that title race, but for now let’s consider one piece of hardcore statistical goodness: in the last two seasons, there has been a 48-point swing between City and Liverpool.
No team has ever won the English league as emphatically as this. They haven’t had a blip, never mind a full-blown slip. Liverpool have sprinted the marathon, dropping only seven points all season and winning the title with a staggering seven games remaining. You don’t need me to tell you that this is 18.421052631 per cent of the season.
Liverpool’s triumph brooks not a solitary argument. They are everything you could want in a football team. An irresistible mixture of skill, speed and aggression; a group of players with an almost demented refusal to accept a draw, never mind defeat. They are a team in the image of their coach, Jurgen Klopp, the kind of man for whom even the most indolent Everton fan would run to the ends of the earth. Or at least try for a couple of hundred yards before giving up and going home. It’s the thought that counts. Look, they wouldn’t have done it for Roy Hodgson or even Gerard Houllier.
For most of the 2010s we talked about Guardiola or Mourinho, but at this rate Klopp will blindside them both and establish himself as the greatest manager of his generation. He’s a grinning, cackling, gegenpressing, official replica baseball cap-wearing genius.
We’ll have plenty of coverage of Liverpool’s triumph in the next few minutes, hours and days. Let’s start with Andy Hunter’s report on the news that, yes, it really, really, really did happen. Liverpool are Premier League champions!