What Now For Liverpool After Ending Premier League Title Drought?

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This is Liverpool’s first EPL crown in 30 years. Photo: Twitter/Liverpool FC

 

 

Liverpool’s romp to a first league title in 30 years with a record seven games of the season remaining could herald a golden new era for the Reds with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.

Klopp has delivered the holy grail of a long-awaited league title to Anfield, a year after winning the club’s sixth European Cup.

Further records could yet tumble before the season is out, with Liverpool on course for an all-time high Premier League points tally and the biggest-ever margin of victory.

A 23-point gap to Manchester City is all the more remarkable given how Pep Guardiola’s men themselves have raised the bar in recent seasons.

“How is it possible anybody is 20 points ahead of this team?” Klopp himself said after watching City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley on Monday.

City’s brilliance has pushed Liverpool to new heights.

Even during the trophy-laden 1970s and 80s at Anfield, Liverpool never amassed as many points as they have in losing just two of their past 70 league games.

A 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Wednesday was a 23rd consecutive Premier League win at home.

“It is not over yet, that’s the good thing,” said an emotional Klopp, who extended his contract until 2024 earlier this season. “The team all look like they have a good few years in their legs.”

The club have also tied down a core group of key players to long contracts over the past two years.

– Legacy –

Wayne Rooney helped win five of Alex Ferguson’s 13 league titles during the Scot’s spell as Manchester United manager and believes Klopp could leave a similar legacy.

“They have huge potential to win more trophies,” Rooney, a former Everton and United captain, begrudgingly admitted in his Sunday Times column.

“Klopp says it’s impossible for any club to dominate like United once did but he is wrong,” added Rooney. “There’s a simple way for Liverpool: let Klopp go on and on.”

City boss Guardiola highlighted Liverpool’s “passion” as the key component his side could not match.

And Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson urged his teammates to remain “hungry” and “keep wanting more” next season.

– More than a two-horse race –

However, plenty of hurdles stand in Liverpool’s way if they are to establish such a spell of dominance, principally City’s reaction to losing their title.

“When we retained the title we were the first for 10 years so you know how difficult it is to do that,” Guardiola warned this week.

As it stands, City will also be banned from European competition for the next two seasons.

Should their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month fail it could be a fatal blow in the push to convince Guardiola to stay beyond the end of his contract in 2021, but would also allow City to concentrate their resources on toppling Liverpool domestically.

Unlike the past two seasons, the title race may be more than a two-horse race in 2020/21.

Chelsea’s 2-1 win over City on Thursday was the result that finally crowned Liverpool champions and the Blues have already stated their intention to challenge with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Manchester United are unbeaten in 13 games, with the January signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes transforming their fortunes.

Other factors such as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, still scheduled to take place from January 10 to February 8, could also play a huge role in Liverpool’s title defence should Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane be absent for two months in the middle of the season.

The return of the AFCON to the European winter had seen Werner strongly linked with a move to Anfield.

However, the economic fallout from coronavirus meant Liverpool were not willing to commit to meeting the German international’s 60 million euro ($67 million) buyout clause from RB Leipzig.

The chemistry between Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino has been key to Liverpool’s rise from struggling to qualify for the Champions League to the dizzy heights of European and English champions.

“The front three we know are as good as anything in Europe,” said former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher.

“They don’t miss too many games but when they do there is a massive drop-off and that’s why I feel Liverpool still need to strengthen.”

For the first time in three decades, though, Liverpool can build from a position of strength to tighten their grip on the Premier League rather than playing catch-up.

Liverpool Win First Premier League Title In 30 Years

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This is Liverpool’s first EPL crown in 30 years. Photo: Twitter/Liverpool FC

 

Liverpool have won their first Premier League title in 30 years after Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 on Thursday. 

 

Jurgen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title for the club with a record seven games left to play after City’s defeat left them 23 points adrift of Liverpool at the top.

Liverpool had moved within two points of the title with a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Their 28th win in 31 league games this season prompted Liverpool star Mohamed Salah to declare “now is our time to win the league” and 24 hours later his wish was granted.

Liverpool got the favour they wanted from Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Willian’s 78th minute penalty, awarded for a handball by Fernandinho, ended City’s two-year reign as champions after Kevin De Bruyne had cancelled out Christian Pulisic’s opener.

Liverpool have clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions, breaking the previous record of five games left shared by City and Manchester United.

It has been an agonising wait for Liverpool fans across the world, with the coronavirus hiatus forcing them to put the champagne on ice after the Premier League was suspended in March with Klopp’s team two wins from the title.

The three-month delay was a final obstacle on Liverpool’s long road back to the pinnacle of English football.

Liverpool spent years in the shadow of arch-rivals Manchester United during the Alex Ferguson era before being left behind by the massive spending of Manchester City and Chelsea.

Then managed by Brendan Rodgers, they infamously squandered a golden opportunity to win the title in 2014 when Reds captain Steven Gerrard made his costly slip in a late-season defeat against Chelsea.

But Klopp’s team are deserved champions after an incredible campaign that could end in record-breaking style.

Liverpool, who are now one title behind Manchester United’s English record haul of 20, are on course to beat Manchester City’s record points total of 100 set in 2017/18.

Klopp’s men could smash the record for the biggest winning margin, set by City when they finished 19 points clear at the top in that same season.

They are also within touching distance of the most victories in a Premier League season — 32 by City in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

– We can play pretty good –

Klopp, the first German manager to win the Premier League, has been the architect of Liverpool’s renaissance since the former Borussia Dortmund boss arrived at Anfield in 2015.

Infusing his players with a belief in his “heavy metal” football and high-tempo “gegen-pressing” game-plan, the charismatic Klopp has earned his place alongside Liverpool’s iconic former managers Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

When Dalglish led Liverpool to the title in 1990, the prize Shankly once described as the club’s “bread and butter” was almost taken for granted after two decades of dominance.

Following years of underachievement, Klopp has brought his unique style and major trophies back to Liverpool.

They won the Champions League last season, when they beat Tottenham in the final, 12 months after losing to Real Madrid at the same stage of the competition.

Liverpool were pipped to the title by Manchester City on the final day of last season, finishing with a record 97 points for top-flight runners-up.

But with Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino forming a formidable front three, Jordan Henderson a tireless presence in midfield and Virgil van Dijk imperious at the back, Liverpool have left City trailing in their wake this season.

It was fitting that Liverpool saved one of their most eye-catching performances for the week the title was won.

After destroying Palace, Klopp said: “Imagine if the stadium could have been full and people could have experienced that live. It would have been amazing.

“This game will last a while in my mind, this is what we want to be.

“We cannot play like other teams, but we can play pretty good stuff.”

Klopp’s frustration that matches are being played behind closed doors at present will fade in time.

It will be the memories left by his transcendent team that linger longest.

Historians on the Kop will surely rank this Liverpool side, also crowned Club World champions in December, alongside the 1979 and 1988 vintages as one of the greatest to wear the famous red shirt.

Liverpool Await Man City Slip-Up As Premier League Glory Looms

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File: Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (R) and Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on March 7, 2020. GEOFF CADDICK / AFP

 

Liverpool will be crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years without kicking a ball on Thursday if Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Jurgen Klopp’s men moved to the brink of a long-awaited Premier League title in style by thumping Crystal Palace 4-0 on their return to Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool hold a 23-point lead over defending champions City, who have eight games to play, meaning their 19th English title — and first Premier League crown — is just a matter of time.

The European champions’ long wait to return to the summit of English football has been extended by three months due to the unprecedented coronavirus shutdown.

Fears that a potentially record-breaking season could be declared null and void were quickly dismissed, but the Premier League’s return has offered the Reds the chance to seal the title on the pitch rather than on a points-per-game formula.

If City manage to keep the title race alive at Chelsea, a point would be good enough for Liverpool to win the league when they travel to Manchester in a clash between the top two on July 2.

Klopp said he would be watching Thursday’s game in London, not to will on Frank Lampard’s side but to prepare for the game against City.

“I watch the game not to prepare a celebration but we play City a week later and also Chelsea,” said the German. “It will happen when it happens.”

City boss Pep Guardiola said on Wednesday his priority is Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final rather than prolonging Liverpool’s wait and he could rest players ahead of the trip to Newcastle at the weekend.

– Liverpool hit form –

After a slow start on their return in a 0-0 draw at neighbours Everton on Sunday, Liverpool showed why they are champions-elect with a demolition of Palace at an empty Anfield.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane were all on the scoresheet as Klopp’s men showed the combination of flair and determination that have made them such an unstoppable force this season.

England international Alexander-Arnold admitted many of his teammates would be tuning into events in London on Thursday but wants Liverpool to go on and rewrite the record books no matter when they clinch the title.

City set the Premier League points record of 100 two seasons ago, but Klopp’s side could still reach 107.

“A lot of us will watch it tomorrow but not get too excited,” said Alexander-Arnold.

“We’ve still got to prepare for the game next week regardless. We’ve still got seven games left and we’re going to try and get all 21 points from those games.”

Liverpool dominated English football in the 1970s and 1980s before ceding their position to Manchester United, who have won a record 20 titles in total.

Seven different clubs have won the English top-flight since Liverpool last tasted success under Kenny Dalglish in 1990 — two years before the launch of the Premier League.

Klopp took his side to within a whisker of glory last year, finishing a single point behind City, despite posting a club record tally of 97 points.

Salah, who has formed a devastating forward partnership with Roberto Firmino and Mane, said it was Liverpool’s “time”.

“Since I came here I said I want to win the Premier League with the team,” he told Sky Sports. “City didn’t win it for a long time, so it was the right time.

“Maybe last year we had a chance to win it but Man City also performed really good and they won it. It’s our time to win it and it’s great.”

Salah Left On The Bench For Liverpool Return

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File: Referee Anthony Taylor gives Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) a yellow card for simulation during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on May 6, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah was left on the bench for Liverpool’s first game in 106 days as the Reds look to move within one win of the Premier League title at Everton.

Salah’s place in the front three alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino goes to Takumi Minamino, while Andy Robertson also misses out at left-back with James Milner deputising.

The Egyptian is Liverpool’s top scorer in the league this season with 16 goals.

Jurgen Klopp’s men can end a 30-year wait to win a league title this week with victory in the Merseyside derby and at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Despite concerns over supporters congregating around the stadiums, Sunday’s clash will take place at Everton’s Goodison Park, less than a mile from Liverpool’s Anfield home.