It’s been quite the journey for Liverpool fans as the red machine has marched on and really emerged as the team to beat having backed up their Champions League success with an incredible Premier League campaign. Having all but won the long awaited league title with 29 games played, it is not a bad time to be a Reds fan as we catch up with Liverpool supporter Stephen Lewins to take us through the 2019/20 season so far.
Premier League – 1st
FA Cup – 5th Round exit
Carabao Cup – Quarter finals exit
Champions League – Round of 16 exit
Following an incredible title push the season prior and that Champions League win, what were your expectations from Jurgen Klopp’s side going into this season? What would’ve been deemed a success?
The league had to be the target, simple as that. It wouldn’t necessarily have been a failure to not win it due to the standard Manchester City had set, but it was clearly the next step and one that’s eluded them for too long. The expectation was to maintain the level reached last year and continue to challenge both in the league and in Europe. There have been moments in recent years when Liverpool have matched the best teams in Europe, but this was the first time in decades they achieved that for a whole season, so it was imperative they built on that to re-establish themselves as a top European side.
With just Adrian the only real addition in the summer, what did you make of Liverpool’s squad going into the first game?
Overall I was happy as there was finally no weak link in the starting eleven, plus some decent options on the bench. Personally I was hoping for a left back, with Robertson the only natural in that position and they do lack something on that side going forward when he’s not playing. I’m being greedy now, but I also ideally wanted another forward as a solid back up for the best front three in world football, though January signing Minamino might well fill that void.
The results have just been relentless from Liverpool, for you what were the standout highs of the season? Is there a moment when you knew you’d got the title in the bag?
For me the standout match was away to Leicester on Boxing Day. At the time Leicester were the nearest challengers and a defeat could’ve seen a big momentum change in the title race, but Liverpool completely outplayed them and thoroughly deserved the 4-0 win. That was the moment I really started to believe. In terms of standout highs a special mention must go to the youngsters who helped to defeat Everton’s first team in the FA Cup; the 25-yard winner by Curtis Jones has probably been the goal I celebrated most this season.
What has been the secret to Liverpool’s Premier League domination this time around?
The mental side of their game has reached levels I’ve never seen before from any team in world football. Technically they’re all great footballers, but it’s the mental aspect which has put them on course for a record points tally. Having fallen short with 97 points last season, ending with 9 consecutive wins, there was a question mark over how they’d pick themselves up to try and somehow do even better this season, but they’ve responded emphatically. There’s never any panic in their play, regardless of the score and minutes remaining, which shows complete faith in their manager’s tactics, their own ability and confidence in their teammates. Klopp has described them as “mentality monsters” which sums it up perfectly.
Liverpool’s last 4 games involved them losing their potential invincibles run and saw them knocked out of both the Champions League and FA Cup, does this leave a sour taste almost?
Not for me. I won’t deny it was disappointing as their incredible run had gone on for so long that certain records started to look within reach, but the season was always about winning the league and anything beyond that would’ve just been a bonus. The fact that many opposition fans’ highlight of the season is Liverpool not going unbeaten and winning the treble shows just how well they’re doing.
Is one trophy (excluding the Club World Cup) enough for this team?
Absolutely, but only because it’s the league which is the one title that’s been out of reach for so long. At the start of the season I’d have taken winning the league over winning all of the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup. Plus I don’t think the Club World Cup triumph should be underestimated; it no longer holds as much prestige with many European teams but it’s the one trophy the great Liverpool sides of the past never managed to win and was a big target within the club.
How do Liverpool back this season up? Who have been they standout players both good and bad?
It’s going to be very difficult but they’re well placed to keep challenging for the biggest titles for the next few years. A couple of new players would keep things fresh, and the breakthrough of youngsters such as Curtis Jones would certainly help with that. For me the real standout players have been Mane, who’s been truly world class, and Henderson, who has proven himself to be a key cog in this Liverpool machine. It’s hard to criticise any of them, but clearly Adrian isn’t the level needed and I’d hope Origi will be replaced, he’s a cult hero thanks to key goals against Everton and Barcelona, but he’s done little else in recent years and he tends to slow the play down.
What are your immediate emotions when reflecting on the whole journey? How would you rate it out of 10?
Absolutely incredible. It’s been completely unlike anything I’ve previously experienced as a football fan, you usually get many highs and lows over the course of the season, but this season has been a case of “what will the score be today?”. I’d rate it 9.5 out of 10 which does feel harsh but I have to leave room for upping it in case the treble follows next season!
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!