When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
The Reds stuck together, never walking alone, with hopes in their heart and saw a golden sky at the end of their storm. It was a wait that straddled both euphoric and dismal events including a coronavirus pandemic that struck in 2020, which almost put the title chase out on a limb. Fortunately, the unexpected party pooper, coronavirus, could not stop the grandiose Reds in Mersey from ending their 30 year old cataclysmic Premier League quest.
It all seemed a hard nut to crack to win the Premier League trophy after their last one, which came under former player and coach, Kenny Daglish, in the 1989/90 season. They did finish that season nine points ahead of runners-up, Aston Villa, but had faced a stiff challenge from Villa for much of that season. They subsequently, had potpourri of master hand coaches who took the reins in Anfield but couldn’t deliver what they solely craved for the most, the English PL trophy.
Liverpool attempted coming close to winning it in 2013/2014 season under Brendan Rodgers, but unfortunately, match-days 36 and 37 of that season was an absolute bizarre. The famous Steve Gerard unfortunate slip vs Chelsea and the match dubbed “Crystanbul” sealed Liverpool’s PL hopes that season as fantasy and got them waiting a little while longer. The blue side of Manchester got hold of the trophy without rolling the dice. Liverpool’s story didn’t quite have the ending people wanted that season.
In a well-planned raid, the club board brought in Jurgen Klopp from Borussia Dortmund. Klopp arrived and set about a rebuild on the team. They once again seemingly came so close in the 18/19 season. Liverpool finished the league season as runners-up to Manchester City, to whom they suffered their only league defeat of the season, racking up 97 points, 1 point trail of City’s 98. It was juggernauts that season.
Fast forward to 2019/20 season, then came what was the final piece in the thirty year old master plan. They tore up the PL season with a gleam that even the strongest of their rivals couldn’t catch up with their shadows. The Reds, stepping up with their dynamic style of play, unleashed their prowess facet and ripped into their opponents unrelentingly. Nobody could keep up with Liverpool on the field in 19/20, season, with only the pandemic threatening to stop their maiden PL title. On their way to domestic glory, they spiced it up with breaking unusual records.
It was indeed a Premier League tale without compare!!
The 19/20 season, undoubtedly, saw some stand out individual performances, of which I would credit using the manager’s tactical approach that played a huge role in their quest for glory.
Jurgen Klopp maintained his ideal tactical approach of which he is widely known for, called the “ghenghen” pressing style deployed in a 4-3-3 shape. Pressing and Jurgen have always been two intertwined words.
- A resourceful defensive line. Evoked a much better defensive line which was accounted for [majority of the PL season] by the attributes of his preferred centre-back pairing, van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Both provided a combination of height and recovery pace. This defensive line enabled a closer connection between players while in possession and made way for a greater tempo in attacking play.
- The industrious midfield three. With his preferred choice of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Henderson, he (Klopp) deployed them cautiously to have their own effect on most of Liverpool games this season. Fab was the deepest of the midfield three, one whose agility and concentration levels gained plaudits for how he performed in his role. Wijnaldum and Henderson had a collective role of pressing opponents without the ball. In possession, their passes are short and safe and they would occasionally venture forward if there were spaces to exploit.
- The flamboyant wing backs. Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson tell their own story with the support they provide in attack. Both players get forward to support the attack at every opportunity, and still retain the stamina to attack and defend their respective sides throughout a whole game. They deliver deep and early whipped crosses, which most often catch opponent’s center backs unaware. They have proved having a clear understanding for each other on the pitch.
- The hyperactive front three. The celebrated front three of Sadio Mane, Robert Firmino and Mo Salah use most of their attacking service to do the damage in the final third. Mane and Salah most operates as inside-forwards, with their starting position out wide but always looking to cut inside and play more narrowly when the team is moving forward. Firmino, the glue that maintains link between the team’s midfield and attack, offers a blend of attributes that is just distinctive to him.
Distinctive credits to other players not mentioned who also contributed in their own way for the Reds success this season.
Liverpool has been on the wrong end of their fair share in title races for three decades, but for what’s what, the long wait is finally over. That energy and positivity, appetite for work and resilience in adversity paid off. The Reds are back on their perch.
Finally, Anfield, the hallowed ground, football’s shrine, wears the PL crown.