Firm bookmakers favourites to retain their title at the start of the season, Liverpool fans probably expected nothing less than them to continue their relentless form which saw them surge ahead of the chasing pack to their first Premier League title and indeed their first championship in 30 years. Hopes were high that with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, they could impose themselves on the domestic scene like the dominant Liverpool teams of the ‘70s and ‘80s had.
However, as we all know by now, it didn't quite work out like that. Liverpool fans who like to have a bet may have had better luck sticking to the slots. A succession of varying problems, from injuries to players not performing, contract problems with players to the lack of fans at Anfield spurring them on to victory all led to a season that most fans would rather forget. As last season had promised so much, fans were bitterly disappointed. Yet, as we head into the summer, let's look and see if it was all doom and gloom for Liverpool supporters.
A Promising end to the Season
Liverpool fans and indeed the players will be upset they didn't put up more of a challenge in retaining their title. However, they can only take faith from the strong finish to the season they had and the feeling of togetherness as they aimed for the highest league position possible. Man City were far ahead by themselves on top, yet for a while things got so bad Liverpool were more concerned about not finishing in the top four.
Successive draws at the end of April looked to put these hopes in serious doubt. Yet they rallied and won their five last consecutive Premier League games to put themselves back in contention. Slip ups from Chelsea and more noticeably Leicester, who had spent most of the season in the top four allowed Liverpool to slip in and finish in third position, only five points behind their bitter rivals, Manchester Utd, who were thought to have had a superb season, so things were not as bad as they possibly seemed.
Return to the Champions League
At one point not so long ago languishing in eight place, qualification for the Champions League seemed far-fetched. However, with the sealing of third place, Liverpool return to the competition with which both the team and the fans have a special relationship with. On six title wins, they are far ahead of any other English club with the closest contender being Man Utd on three. Joint third on the list of all time winners with Bayern Munich, only AC Milan on seven and Real Madrid on 13 have a superior record.
Their entry this year gives them the possibility to equal Milans record. European nights see an amazing atmosphere at Anfield and hopefully crowds will be allowed by the time the competition rolls around. One of the most famous nights in both Liverpool and Champions League history took place in 2019. On their charge to win the cup, they overturned a first leg 3-0 reverse at the hands of Barcelona to win the home leg 4-0. Cue well deserved praise from pretty much everyone in the footballing world.
Hanging onto the Manager and Players
While it's never been established how much truth in the matter there was, media outlets obviously like to spread rumours and gossip. From the outside it was reported that things were so bad at Liverpool this season, Jurgen Klopp was actually considering walking away from the job or even more ridiculously, getting sacked for poor results even after delivering their first title in 30 years. Seen as a hero by all Liverpool fans, they will be happy these rumours weren’t true and no stupid or rash decisions were made.
Constant speculation has revolved around transfers this season, unsettling the players and squad. The marauding strike force trio of Mane, Firmino and Salah did not seem to be combining as well, with only Salah producing the goals at a similar rate to the previous campaign. For some reason, rumours surfaced that they were unhappy or even all considered being put up for sale. Hopefully, whatever problems lurk beneath the surface have been resolved as these players have proven to be a success at Liverpool and at time of writing all remain Liverpool players.
A Summer of Activity
While it's true the delayed holding of International Football competition Euro 2020 this summer may not give some Liverpool stars as much time as they would like to recover, it also gives them a break from the club scene for a while. Sometimes, training and playing with different team mates can give a new lease of energy and life. Some Liverpool players that have been injured long term, such as Virgil van Dijk have chosen to miss the tournament and focus fully on his return for Liverpool next season which will please the fans as the team missed him massively at the centre of defence.
As the summer goes on more transfer targets to boost Liverpool's strength will become apparent. But they have acted quickly and decisively to sign Ibrahima Konata from German club RB Leipzig. For a fee of 35 million pounds the experienced defender is a great acquisition because of the injuries to the defensive players of Liverpool's squad. Constant changes in the back line last season, be it from within, new signings or loan deals, did not help Liverpool's cause.
While it's true Chelsea claimed the Champions League trophy while Liverpool could only watch on in envy, fans may be happy with the way things turned out in the end. As Man City had already won the Premier League and Liverpool were ending up trophyless, unfortunately the only avenue left is to revel in your rivals' failures. Liverpool fans watched on anxiously as two of their biggest enemies, Man Utd and Man City both competed in European finals.
However, both teams conspired to mess up their opportunities, allowing fans of Liverpool to breathe a sigh of relief that they wouldn't have to listen to bragging all summer. Now, they have a great chance to regroup over the summer and try to reclaim the title with possibly not so much pressure on them this time. With such an astute manager at the helm and a host of possible signings being mentioned, we could be ready to see a return to the top for the mighty Liverpool.