The best ever Liverpool team?
The current Liverpool team has dominated the Premier League this season and they could well go on to clock up a record points tally.
Could it be that Jurgen Klopp’s men are better than all those outstanding Anfield winners from the past?
For the younger generation and for their many fans overseas this will be the first time they have witnessed a Liverpool team clinching the domestic league title.
Since the Merseysiders have not won the top division since 1990 and therefore have never lifted the Premier League.
That was despite triumphs at the FIFA Club World Cup, the Champions League and in domestic cups.
Certains factors have produced this all-conquering performance:
Modern LFC was initially transformed by the inspirational Bill Shankly who took an underperforming second-tier team to league and cup glory from the early 1960’s.
The combination of shrewd signings (eg Scottish stars Ron Yeats and Ian St John) and the missionary zeal of the coach which connected so well with the local support produced a legacy that would endure for decades.
Liverpool would secure thirteen top division league titles from the early Sixties through to 1990.
As well as numerous domestic cups the Merseysiders would go on to an English record number of European Cup/Champions League triumphs.
That framework begun around sixty years ago would continue to attract talented players and coaches and inspire them to succeed.
Mix all that with an increase in commercial revenue, matchday income, and media revenue gives LFC the ability to reinvest in both the infrastructure and the players such that they have become a worldwide footballing success.
And one factor that helped bring talent to the club and often enable them to overcome the odds are the fans inside the Anfield stadium.
In the same way that Bill Shankly could relate to the local culture, it seems Jurgen Klopp has particularly embraced the history and legendary status of the ground.
That rapport has been reciprocated by the Anfield crowd.
In the past, it was said that the home crowd would be worth at least one goal to Liverpool.
And there is no doubt when in need, the same thing often happens now.
Liverpool have dominated English football in the past.
Once that structure had been built back in the 1960’s the club would lead the way domestically in the next two decades.
Usually their progress would be highlighted by memorable recruits to the forward line.
Reflecting back the names would be Keegan and Toshack in the 1970’s then Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish in the Eighties.
Each time the club would endeavour to engineer a successful transformation of those key players.
Today the triumvirate of Mane, Salah and Firmino is the focal point.
Whereas at one time a team comprising the likes of Souness, Neal, Rush, Dalglish, Hansen, Lawrenson and Grobbelaar felt like a kind of ultimate winning formula.
Perhaps now even that level is being surpassed?
Klopp’s current team comprises exceptional strength in all areas.
From Allison in goal, two outstanding full-backs in Alexander-Arnold and Roberston, the majestic van Dijk at centre-back, a very solid midfield often based around Henderson as the driving force, to that brilliant forward trio of Firmino, Salah and Mane.
Inspired by the coach and the environment this team has gelled to an extent few would have predicted, even though they came close to league glory the previous year.
And as shown against neighbours Everton there is also a younger version waiting in the wings.
Which should strike fear into the hearts of the opposition.
Maybe this judgement is slightly premature as Liverpool have not yet clinched that first EPL title.
(But only the ‘virus’ can stop them now!)
And any such assessment should normally be reserved for performance over a number of seasons.
But even if it is for just a relatively short period we surely have witnessed a truly exceptional, and arguably unique, Liverpool team.
Analysis - John Bethell