Liverpool not "Bad champions" but tired ones

Feb 12, 2021 17:27 By Sean McCaffrey
Liverpool not "Bad champions" but tired ones
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The premier league has become a stable diet of live sporting action during the pandemic. Prior to this there would be a passing interest, watching

The premier league has become a stable diet of live sporting action during the pandemic.

Prior to this there would be a passing interest, watching who was moving and grooving on the league table.

From its move many moons ago to pay-per-view, getting live access to games was very limited, with maybe a rare trip planned to a local establishment, taking in a significant encounter.


Having no real interest in any one team except hoping Manchester United were beaten, resulted in never any real panic to even sit down and take in match of the day.

The arrival of two young men into the house and their subsequent interest in FIFA on a PS4 ensured an increased awareness of the game across the water and in particular the fortunes of Liverpool. It is no coincidence that their love for the reds would have coincided with an upturn in the fortunes of the Anfield side.

Jurgen Klopp arrived in October 2015, just in time to make an impression on a football mad four-year-old who was tentatively taking his first footsteps into following a team.


What followed was the usual replica kits, bed spreads, match attack cards and the request to stay up late on Saturday night to watch match of the day.

As any parent will tell you, this time spent with a child is irreplaceable, having something in common and been able to conduct a meaningful conversation with any child on a subject of interest is to be enjoyed.

Amazingly the PS4 and more often than not the trading of cards, gave the new found fan a wonderful working knowledge of the team and its players. I can recall watching one particular Champions league encounter with then seven-year-old suggesting; Klopp needed to make a change, even going as far as naming the player to come off and his replacement.


Moments later the change was made, I turned and asked how did you know or why would you make that change? Answer; “it is what I would do on the Playstation.”

This Reds mania has grown over the last number of years; to the point that live premier league action had to be sought for the house especially as the Covid restrictions brought a halt on the trip to a friends or cousins house to watch a game.

The arrival of satellite TV, rekindled my own childhood memories of watching Pool when they were in their 1980’s pomp.


A secondary school entrance exam is forever remembered for the dash home to watch the Merseyside FA cup final which went the way of Ian Rush and co. Again the success of the team at that time, no doubt having an impression on myself and perhaps ensuring that while not an out and out fan of the club, I did always kept an eye on their progress.

With Liverpool jerseys, footballs and school bags, not forgetting the pencil case on daily view around the house, it was time for this scribe to put his neck on the block and follow a team (Yes it is jumping on the bandwagon, but it is priceless time with a child).

What has followed is Champions league success, a FIFA club world cup title and the Premier league title. That is a lot for us new followers to take in!


From having a passing interest in the club we are now at diary marking stage and phone reminder moments to ensure all action is seen.

Without doubt this particular season has been difficult from the high of a side been practically unbeatable in 2020 to Anfield defeats to teams at either end of the league table.

2021 has been a wakeup call to a young supporter, while for me, a state of wonder of what has gone wrong?

Following their defeat to Manchester City, who must now be the champions elect, Roy Keane (he of Manchester United and Ireland fame) remarked that Liverpool are “bad champions”.

In fairness he is well entitled to his opinion; seven premier league titles to his name between 1993 and 2003 when United were kings of the castle.

But was the “Bad champions” comment just a dig at the side he has no fondness for? And that is no secret!

Since 2015, Liverpool have gone from eighth place in the table to crowned champions in the 2019-2020 season, while being runners-up the previous year.

From the beginning of the 2018/19 season through to lifting the title at the end of 2020, they lost only four league games.

Between all that a Champions league title was claimed, a European Super Cup and a club World cup as well as contesting another Champions league final, a Europa league final and a league cup final.

An incredible run when you see it noted down on paper.

During the course of the past number of years, Klopp has built his team and strengthened it where needed, but quite a number of the players have been there from his arrival.

The style of play and level of commitment that Klopp demands can be draining on any team, and yes I know all other managers demand likewise of their sides, but as noted the success and level at which Pool have been playing at for the past six years, would be hard matched by any other team.

Much is made of the Premier league as the most competitive of all the competitions held worldwide, that would be a debate for another day, but it is certainly up there for the level and intensity of games that are shoe horned into a calendar that also includes F.A Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League matches.

Not many other leagues would ask for their high level teams to take to the field up-to three times a week.

Liverpool have been competitive in the majority of these competitions. I know it is no excuse to make out that players are not fit or tired of playing games, particularly when you see their lifestyle they have both within and outside the club, but been at the highest level of competition can be both physically and mentally draining.

Alisson Becker joined Liverpool in 2018, it is no coincidence that the club saw their progress continue in a positive vibe, culminating in claiming a first Premier league title.

Net minders had proven problematic for the Reds prior to that: now they were comfortable in that position. You could count on one hand, maybe missing a few fingers, the number of mistakes the Brazilian made that resulted in defeat for his side.

That recent 4–1 loss to Manchester City came two howlers, afterwards Klopp rather flippantly made the suggestion his number one keeper could have been suffering from “cold feet”.

It came across as a “bad” answer to a legitimate question. It had been noted that Alisson had been sick earlier in the week, with Ireland’s Caoimhin Kelleher deputising for him in the game against Brighton.

The point is Becker has not become a “bad” keeper overnight, anyone that saw those mistakes would see them as errors from a player who seemed out of sorts, similar to the team at the moment.

OK they may not make it back-to-back league titles this year, but losing the 2028/19 title by one point to follow it up a season later with a title win, does not make you “Bad Champions” but ones that are feeling the pace and are maybe just tired.

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