By Pratik Sagar
They say winning the Premier League is tough, which in fact is, but what’s tougher is retaining the title and therefore, if Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are to be categorised in the same breath as that of Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United or Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea or Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, next year will have to be their year once more.
As good as Arsene Wenger’s ‘invincibles’ were in 2003/04 sesson,Arsenal couldn’t retain the title next term and had to be content with the tag of being single season winners. They faltered so much from there on that the Gunners haven’t won a league title since.
Similar thing happened with Blackburn in the 1994 season when they won the league at the expense of Manchester United but are not even plying their trade in the top-division. Not to forget Leicester City, who under Claudio Ranieri, wrote Premier League’s best miracle story in the 2015/16 season but haven’t threatened the top of the pile ever since.
The reason why Ferguson is so widely regarded in club football is because he oversaw a sustained period of success over a long time. Not only did he win back-to-back titles twice but he also won three league titles in a row twice. Mourinho’s Chelsea also did it once when the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ touched down in England after making Porto European champions. While Guardiola also put his name alongside these big-ticket managers before his dreams of a hat-trick was smashed into smithereens by Klopp’s men.
Taking nothing away from Liverpool and their heroics this term as they have been simply incredible. But sustaining this will be the challenge. They won the title the fastest – in terms of games left (7), their winning run at home as been the longest (23) and equalling Manchester City’s record of consecutive top-flight wins (18).
Liverpool have now got 19 top-division titles, second behind only to Manchester United (20). But overall, they are now the most successful team in England, in terms of trophies, as they have 43 major titles in comparison to United’s 42.
The ingredients remain in place for Liverpool to become a dynasty in the same vein as their illustrious predecessors. The squad is young and on the right side of 30 so keeping them hungry shouldn’t be a problem for Klopp. Besides, the top stars have already expressed their happiness at playing under the tutelage of the German so the threat of losing best players remains minimal.
When Klopp had joined the Reds in 2015, he stated that he would like to have a league title in four years time. He has achieved that goal and also made Liverpool European and World Champions as well. He ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title in style, playing arguably the most eye-catching football on the continent.
Undoubtedly it is a historic moment, but they still have to walk alone a bit before they can write their name alongside some incredible teams that have strutted their stuff in the Premier League over the years consistently.