Liverpool’s task this season was clear, if incredibly difficult.
Go where you left off, somehow collect more points than last year and pray that Manchester City will win a few games less.
What actually happened during the campaign was very different.
The Reds are on track to score a few more points than last season (they could still land at 104), while Manchester City could get 20 points less.
Jürgen Klopp would never admit it, but his focus will have changed to the next season. The remaining six games in the campaign offer an opportunity to gain an edge over the rest of the division by treating this period as a preseason.
Records are important, but trophies are more important, and Liverpool knows how important it is to start a season on the fly: this year, they have been at the top of the table from day one and never give up the top spot because City is early slipped.
Although the Reds did not collect the trophy last season, they essentially won a title, putting together successive title winning seasons, even if the history books don’t show it. History shows that it is almost impossible to string three in a row.
Matt Addison spoke live on Blood Red’s YouTube channel after the Etihad Stadium encounter, saying, “I said at the start of the game that this was an important game in terms of the narrative for Liverpool.”
“We know Liverpool have been a lot better than Manchester City this year, but I think if we start previewing next season people will say that although Liverpool could win the league by a record lead, that’s a reminder what City can do and maybe the gap was not that big … ‘
“I’m not sure that’s an accurate picture. Liverpool was significantly better, certainly defensive, and they didn’t show it at night, but when you look at the season as a whole, rather than one-off nights like this.” than this, it paints a fuller picture.
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“The next season has always been difficult for Liverpool because they have been through it for two seasons now.
“They got 97 points last season and didn’t quite win the league, but they were champions champions in two consecutive seasons, and it’s very rare for us to see a team do it for three.”
“Manchester United are the only team to have won the Premier League three times in a row and they didn’t have nearly as many points back then.”
“Liverpool is breaking new ground at the level they need to remain, but Liverpool always knew that next season everyone would start from scratch.
“It will be very difficult for Liverpool to keep the title – it’s hardly a shock.”
In fact, no team has won four titles in a row in the first division. Huddersfield Town (1923–26), Arsenal (1932–35), Liverpool (1981–84) and Manchester United (twice: 1998–01; 2006–09) did all three as the Reds will effectively target them again.
However, none of these occasions required a total of around 100 points.
Manchester United scored 90 points in 2008/09, but beat Liverpool by four points to finish at 87 and still be crowned champion. And that was the highest score of any team that won three in the spin.
If Liverpool wants to keep its first title and win a title for the third time in a row, it has to reach a level that has never been achieved by any team before.
After two seasons with almost 100 points, another may be required. Even if not, Liverpool would join an exclusive club by winning the title again next year.