Sportsroom editor Steve Deane pays tribute to Liverpool FC: Here’s to your incredible season.
The good news for Liverpool FC and its fans is that they won’t be burdened by the need to carry much when they’re out not walking alone.
The cumbersome shiny objects commonly referred to as trophies, for instance, won’t be part of their baggage, most of which will be in the form of mental scars.
Because poor old Liverpool (actually the planet’s seventh richest football club with annual revenues in excess of 500,000,000 Euros) are on the cusp of producing the greatest football season there never was.
Their 2-0 victory over Wolves on the final day of the EPL season shattered a host of records – every one of them the unwanted type.
To wit, Liverpool just:
– Compiled the highest amount of points by a team not to win the English Premier League, their 97 points smashing the previous mark of 89 set by Manchester United in 2011/2012.
– Managed to not win the league while compiling a points tally that would have won the title in all but two of the EPL’s 27 seasons (this season and last).
– Became the only team ever to not win the title despite losing just one game.
– Padded their record as the most recent club not to win the league despite leading at Christmas – they have now suffered this fate three times since anyone else has done it.
– Became the team with the highest points lead heading into the New Year to fail to win the title.
Given their dominant position on January 1, it’s tempting to suggest Liverpool choked when in sight of their first title in almost three decades. But they, in fact, won their last nine matches in a row – so hardly staggered home. Their problem was that Manchester City closed their season with 13 straight victories.
Liverpool’s season has, in fact, been incredible by just about every metric except for the one that really matters: silverware.
They are, of course, still in the Uefa Champions League final, and can erase their pain with one more great 90-minute performance in Madrid on June 2. But that won’t happen – not in a final between a team fated to lose no matter how well they have played, and a team that is still alive despite being on death’s door at almost every stage of the competition.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League run has been the stuff of fairytales, their nimble toes fitting snugly into a glass slipper. Liverpool, by contrast, find themselves staring uncomprehendingly into a cursed mirror.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, we only lost one game all season. FFS – please explain?”
Mercy will eventually come for Liverpool’s 2018/19 almost-heroes in the cruel anonymity history reserves for losers. In 10 years’ time, they’ll be an answer to a pub quiz question that only trainspotters and Jurgen Klopp will be able to answer.
It might be a fate richly undeserved but, hey, at least you had the ’70s and ’80s, Liverpool fans. So cry the rest of the footballing world a river.
Here’s to you and your brilliant season, Liverpool FC. You might as well not have bothered.