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Liverpool’s season should be celebrated not mocked – football needs them

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 01/06/2022 Rory Fleming

The cut-throat nature of modern football fandom was on full display as social media was awash with rival supporters mocking Liverpool’s trophy parade in the wake of their Champions League disappointment.

Earlier this week, the parade drew in an estimated crowd of nearly half a million fans, who lined the streets of Merseyside to cheer on their beloved side’s achievements this season.

Whilst media hyperbole had proliferated the notion of a potential quadruple for this Liverpool side, much to the annoyance of opposition fans, the history books will show a domestic cup double — two more trophies than Manchester United have claimed in the last five years — and there is so much more to appreciate from the Reds’ remarkable season.

Liverpool players hold a cardboard cut-out of Mohamed Salah on an open-top bus during the trophy parade to celebrate their season. Picture date: Sunday May 29, 2022. © Provided by Extra.ie Liverpool players hold a cardboard cut-out of Mohamed Salah on an open-top bus during the trophy parade to celebrate their season. Picture date: Sunday May 29, 2022.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been magnificent this season, playing all 64 games across all competitions and losing on just four occasions. Not only did the German guide them to Carabao and FA cups, but also the Champions League final for the third time in five seasons.

Although defeat in Paris — coupled with the harrowing fan experiences outside the Stade de France — will be the main focus for fans and media alike, attention should be firmly fixed on Liverpool’s title challenge.

Pep Guardiola’s domineering Manchester City side would have strolled through the Premier League over the last five seasons while the rest of us endured, if it were not for this superb and arguably more entertaining Liverpool side.

Even with Klopp’s team pushing City all the way in recent seasons, the Manchester side have still claimed four of the last five titles. Premier League fans are quick to mock this sort of dominance in rival European leagues such as Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, brandishing the lack of competition with the colloquialism of a ‘farmers league’.

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have pushed each other at every step on the way at Manchester City and Liverpool this season and before it. Pic: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock © Provided by Extra.ie Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have pushed each other at every step on the way at Manchester City and Liverpool this season and before it. Pic: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock

The Premier League is the greatest league in the world, or so the television behemoths would have you believe. But if it were not for this generational Liverpool side breaking City’s stranglehold in 2020, we would be facing the top tier’s first ever five-in-a-row league title run.

City, quite literally backed by a nation state, act safe in the knowledge that they verge on near incomprehensible amounts of funding. Summer after summer City’s Sheikh Mansour pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into an already galactico-laden squad.

This absurd financial model is unsustainable unless, like City, you are indeed backed by an oil-rich state; however this is not a form of investment available to 99% of clubs.  Liverpool on the other hand, offer the blueprint to stave off football’s biggest threat: the wealth of morally dubious monarchical oil states.

Sheikh Mansour speaks with Chairman of Manchester City Football Club Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during their mid season training camp in Abu Dhabi. Pic: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images © Provided by Extra.ie Sheikh Mansour speaks with Chairman of Manchester City Football Club Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during their mid season training camp in Abu Dhabi. Pic: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images

The Anfield club have developed a self-sustaining model, one which can realistically be emulated by other sides in the battle against soulless sports-washing. Yes, Liverpool also routinely spend big in the transfer window, but are doing so in a much more strategic and sustainable manner.

By shopping in the lesser proven areas of the market, away from the obscene spending of the likes of PSG or Man City, Liverpool seek to outsmart their wealthier rivals by investing in players on the cusp of greatness.

Players like Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were bought for relatively low sums from Ajax and Inter respectively but sold on at vast profits. This money is then reinvested and in turn results in a relatively self-sustaining method of funding squad improvement.

Take for example Liverpool’s current stars in Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, signed from Southampton and Roma. These were not players sought after at the highest levels of the game upon their arrival but they have led their side on a journey which culminated in a first league title for three decades.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool line up ahead of this season’s UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France. Pic: Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images © Provided by Extra.ie Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool line up ahead of this season’s UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France. Pic: Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Whilst Liverpool fans can come across as far from humble (then again which supporters of the world’s top clubs do?), rival fans should not be wishing for their demise simply because of the apathy they hold towards Man City.

Liverpool are the sole protectors of the integrity of the league we all enjoy and without them, each season would be little more than a procession for the blue half of Manchester.

With fallen giants such as Manchester United and Arsenal closer to the drop zone than City’s points total, Chelsea entering a period of transition under new ownership and Tottenham’s lack of consistency, Liverpool are the all that stands in City’s way for the foreseeable future.

This fact alone, is reason enough for those on Merseyside to celebrate.

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