Liverpool is in contention to win this season’s Premier League title, even more so after they came up with that late winner against Spurs. Manager Jurgen Klopp has on occasion explained that time is on Liverpool’s side, noting that this is the club’s first shot at the Premier League title — not its last.
Klopp may be right, though it is just as likely that he is merely attempting to deflect pressure away from his team. After all, many have pegged Liverpool as one of the stronger clubs in the league. Soccity even proclaimed them as being “on the verge of something special” in a Premier League preview last August. That proclamation, looking back, seems prescient to say the least.
Anfield’s tenants are now battling Manchester City for the Premier League title, and the two clubs are in a virtual dead heat. Both have eight matches remaining, with Liverpool’s biggest challenge likely an April 14 home match against Chelsea, who themselves are looking to sneak into the top four of the table. City, on the other hand, will have a crucial back-to-back against formidable foes: Tottenham at home on April 20 and Manchester United on the road on April 24. Like Chelsea, both Tottenham and United are also fighting to finish in the top four, and secure Champions League berths in the process.
One man who will likely be following Liverpool closely these next few weeks is LeBron James. The NBA star has a 2% stake in Liverpool, which means he has a vested interest in seeing the club succeed. A first ever Premier League title would be huge in that regard, and would likely raise the profile of the club several notches higher. That happening would mean LeBron’s initial $6.5 million Liverpool investment in 2011, estimated to be around $32 million as of 2018, would grow even more (which is a nice snapshot of just how big a business this really is, beyond the performances of the players and the joy and despair of supporters).
LeBron James is a man of many interests, and soccer is but one of them. He is also a philanthropist and actor, as well as a businessman and social activist. Of course, he is a basketball player first and foremost, though in that regard he’s had enough disappointment lately that a Liverpool title might just mean that much more to him. The many-time MVP is undoubtedly bitterly disappointed with his Los Angeles Lakers missing the NBA playoffs this year. The Lakers had been early season favorites among NBA prognosticators to make the postseason, but they failed to reach that point despite the world’s best player – LeBron – leading the way. They have struggled for the better part of this season, leading to LeBron’s shortest NBA campaign in many years. As a result, he’ll have some unwanted free time moving forward.
LeBron can start shooting Space Jam 2, for instance, or visit the school he built in Akron, Ohio as much as he likes. At this point though, he may well turn a lot of his attention to Liverpool’s quest for a Premier League title – if only to satisfy his need for a competitive outlet. Not that LeBron isn’t already keeping tabs on the club he partly owns. He’s known in general to keep an eye on the Reds; last year, he even took to Instagram to implore Liverpool to win its semi-final clash against Roma in the Champions League. The Reds won that match, but were unable to bag the title in the final against Real Madrid.
Now, it would be easy to dismiss LeBron’s interest as merely financial in nature. Again, he stands to gain quite a bit of money on his investment if Liverpool wins the Premier League. But lost in this erroneous belief are the reasons why LeBron was so enamored with Liverpool in the first place. After a two-day visit to Anfield in 2011, he gushed about Liverpool’s legacy of winning as well as the club’s loyal, passionate fans. Years later, he has become a fervent Liverpool fan himself. And like The Red Army, he too wants nothing more than for Liverpool to win the Premier League.