Liverpool finally clinched their 19th league title last Thursday following a surprising Manchester City loss to Chelsea. Liverpool fans probably didn’t expect to win their first title in such anticlimactic circumstances and would have preferred to win the title at Anfield with their fans present but that didn’t matter as thousands of fans took the streets of Liverpool to celebrate. Now the title is clinched, the question dominating social media, message boards and football studios is, are Liverpool the best Premier League side of all time? Of course, there is no easy answer to this, but let’s start by looking at the facts, figures and context of what Liverpool have achieved over the past 2 seasons.
Firstly, let’s look towards the squad and the talent in the hands of Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool have a fantastic starting XI which on its day, can comfortably compete with the best sides in the world. They’ve beaten Manchester City on a number of occasions, and have picked up notable results again European giants Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG in the Champions League. They’ve further proved their pedigree this year in Super Cup and World Club Championship competition. Their front three is just as prolific as any other in the world right now and their defence is arguably the strongest too, along with Diego Simeone’s notorious Atletico defence. Their squad does however appear on the thin side when you compare to Manchester City. Whilst Liverpool’s fringe players have proven to be effective over the years, they do lack impactful players like Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Leroy Sane (who has now left) that can be more than relied upon to fill their starting eleven’s boots. There are certain question marks surrounding the quality of back up to Liverpool’s front three with Divock Origi, Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri often falling short on occasions. However, looking at the starting XI it’s hard to argue that they aren’t the most effective team in the world right now.
By now you will have heard of one, or two, or fifty of the records Liverpool have broken throughout this season. Records certainly provide context into the achievements of Premier League teams throughout history and by the end of the season, Liverpool will have a few of their own to boast. As it stands, no team has ever won the Premier League by such a large margin. Liverpool won the title with a 23-point margin over City, beating City’s own 17-18 record when they won the title with 100 points. Liverpool also hold the record for winning the title with the most games remaining (7 games). This proves just how dominant Liverpool have been from the outset of the season, something that hasn’t been witnessed to this extent before. In their previous season they picked up the record for most points without winning a title (97 points), only bested by new rivals Man City. This proves that Liverpool’s current record-breaking season isn’t a fluke or one-off – they have been performing at a high level for almost 2 years now. They currently hold and are still adding to their winning run at home with 23 games. All these records show that Liverpool are truly achieving something remarkable and never seen before, but is one seasons worth of records enough to justify the tag of best Premier League team ever?
The Season Isn’t Over
There is still unfinished business this season. If Liverpool happened to go on a losing run and pick up no more points, it would certainly taint their title and the plaudits would be quickly silenced. Although it’s unlikely, it’s best to reserve judgement until the season is concluded. There are still a lot more records to play for including the much-discussed points total record which City fans will be keen to hang on to. As we saw against Man City, Liverpool may be suffering a title win hangover and it’s possible that some players will take the pedal of the gas for now.
This isn’t an easy question to answer and a more elaborate context must be considered when looking back at previous title winners. Firstly, when people ask this question, do they mean the best team in a singular season? Or do they mean the greatest Premier League team of all time, over a number of seasons? If this is the case then surely teams such as Manchester United’s 06-09, 99-01 and Chelsea’s 04-06 must be considered. All of these squads were dominant over a long period of time and had to face challenges such as ageing players, players leaving and the competition adapting and changing around them. Liverpool have had two of the best seasons possible, in a row, and if it wasn’t for such a resilient competitor in Man City, they would probably be celebrating their second title in a row this year.
Can Liverpool do it Again?
With all things considered, it may be too early to tell if Liverpool are or will go on to be the greatest Premier League team of all time. Over the past seasons they have undoubtedly been the best team overall and have achieved some magnificent feats. However, does the greatest Premier League team of all time need to do more than win one Premier League title? The goal of the league is to win as many points as possible, so is the team with the records points total the best team? This question can only be answered in confidence by each individual the question is posed to. Liverpool are currently second most likely to win the title next season according to Bet365 who puts them at 11/8 whilst City are favourites at 1/1. The bookies clearly think Liverpool have some way to solidifying their status as the greatest Premier League of all time, although these odds are coming off the back of a 4-0 lost to Man City at the Etihad. If Liverpool manage to prove the bookies free bets offers wrong by maintaining their current form and setting the same standard next season, surely all doubts over the question will be put to rest.