Good morning and welcome to Friday. Liverpool won the English Premier League title yesterday to end a 30-year drought, impressively, with players who were just good in their previous clubs before making the move to Anfield. This is not to downplay their abilities, but to extol how a manager looks at his club, identifies the problem, and knows exactly how to solve those problems.
Congratulations to Liverpool, deserved 2019/2020 Premier League winners. But let me take your mind back to those dreadful years, waiting, disappointment upon disappointment, coming close to the trophy and even the teams that many may have considered the greatest Liverpool team are now in the shadow of this title-winning squad.
The last time Liverpool won a league title, I was only a few months old, do your mathematics and you will surely know how old I am. I started watching football as a kid when I was six, Nigeria winning gold medal in football in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in Georgia, USA. Every child in the country knew what happened that year, the magic of Nwankwo Kanu in the semi-finals against almighty Brazil and outsmarting Argentina in the finals, it was quite a year for Nigeria and we’ve not witnessed another golden generation after.
Liverpool won their last title in 1989/90, finishing with 79 points, 9 points ahead of second-placed Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal finished third and fourth respectively. Chelsea finished that season 5th, Manchester United 13th and Manchester City 14th. Arsenal won the title in 1990/91 with Liverpool finishing second. Leeds United were champions in 1991/92 and Liverpool finished 6th. The Reds repeated the same position in 1992/93.
In 1993/94, Liverpool slipped down to 8th while Manchester United won the league again. 1994/95 Blackburn Rovers won the title with Liverpool finishing 4th. Manchester United were champions again in 1995/96 with Liverpool finishing 3rd. Again United won the title in 1996/97 and the Reds finished 4th. Arsenal were champions in 1997/98. The Red Devils were champions in 1998/99, 1999/2000 and 2000/01 with Liverpool slipping to 7th, 4th and 3rdrespectively.
That was one decade without the Reds winning the title. Arsenal beat the Merseyside club to the title in 2001/02. United returned as champions in 2002/03 and Liverpool finished 5th. Arsenal went unbeaten in 2003/04 to win the title while Liverpool finished 4th. Chelsea won their first title in 50 years in 2004/05 and 2005/06 with the Reds finishing in 7th. Manchester United won the title again in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 with Liverpool finishing 3rd, 4th and 2nd respectively. Chelsea were champions in 2009/10, Liverpool finished 7th.
Another decade for the Kops without a title. Manchester United again won the title in 2010/11 with Liverpool finishing 6th. In 2011/12 season, Sergio Aguero scored a late winner against QPR to give Manchester City their first title in 44 years, beating rivals Manchester United with a superior goal difference, that season, Liverpool finished 8th. United won their last title in recent memory during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge in 2012/13 season and Liverpool finished 7th. The Reds came very close to the title in 2013/14 season, finishing just four points behind Manchester City. They led for the majority of the season just for Stephen Gerard to slipped and Demba Ba went through on goal to destroy Liverpool’s title hope.
Chelsea were champions in 2014/15 season and they finished 6th. In 2015, Jurgen Klopp joined from Borussia Dortmund and that season saw Leicester emerged as champions in a crazy campaign while Liverpool finished 8th. Chelsea were champions in 2016/2017 and Liverpool finished 4th. 2017/18 and 2018/19 saw Manchester City winning the title twice, Liverpool finished 4th and last season, they finished 2nd with just a point behind City.
They built on that momentum this season, beating everything that came their way. They won the Uefa Champions League last season, Uefa Super Cup and also won the Club World Cup. The most amazing thing about their story is a particular man who came in with his philosophy, imposed the philosophy on the team, the squad he inherited could not do that, he started assembling his own team. Knew the players he wanted and signed them one after the other.
Another interesting thing about this Liverpool side is that the players are very hungry. Klopp brought in players that were average in their former teams and turn them to world-class in a few years. Only James Milner and Fabinho tasted league titles before in major leagues in Europe. Mohammed Salah was a flop at Chelsea, was excellent at Roma but became world-class in Liverpool, same as Sadio Mane. Roberto Firmino was not a top striker at Hoffenheim, Captain Jordan Henderson was average in the Liverpool side Klopp inherited, Fabinho was excellent at Monaco, Gigi Wijnaldum was part of the Newcastle side that went to relegation in 2016, Naby Keita played for Salzburg, Trent-Alexander Arnold is an academy graduate, Andy Robertson joined from Championship side Hull City, Virgil Van Dijk was a big-money buy from Southampton and Alisson Becker also joined from Roma for a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper.
Just take a look at the players’ profiles, where they came from, and how they have transform Liverpool to one of the best clubs in the world in just a few years. This triumph has set the pace for the team to dominate world football again and it is a good time to be a Kop.
Congratulations to Liverpool for a well deserved title.
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Time to go record a podcast and later I will have some bottle of beer with Liverpool fans. Till tomorrow, have a good Friday.
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