Jurgen Klopp’s name will now forever be lauded amongst the most hallowed in Liverpool’s long and illustrious history, the German having guided the club to a maiden Premier League title and their first top flight crown in three decades.
It’s been a record-breaking season for the Merseyside club who have stood head and shoulders above the rest of the division, enjoying the best ever start to a campaign in the history of Europe’s leading leagues and wrapping up the title with a record seven games to spare.
As the red half of Liverpool prepares for celebrations that are likely to continue for quite some time, we’ve decided to revisit the story of a historic campaign for Klopp and his formidable side.
Here are five of the key moments in Liverpool’s run to the 2019/20 Premier League title:
Klopp keeps faith in Reds’ ‘mentality monsters’
Liverpool’s agonising runners-up finish last season must have left many of the club’s supporters doubting whether their title drought would ever end, finishing second despite a points haul that would have seen the club crowned champions in all but two seasons in Premier League history.
Those doubts may have increased further during a summer transfer window that saw Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal all break their transfer records, in addition to Manchester United’s world-record capture of Harry Maguire from Leicester.
Klopp, however, knew his players better than anyone, and kept faith in the side that came so close to league success before bouncing back immediately to win the club’s sixth European Cup in Madrid.
A free signing of Adrian as a back-up to first-choice goalkeeper Alisson was the only piece of senior business the club conducted, teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott arriving as two for the future.
Klopp has labelled his side as ‘mentality monsters’ for their ability to overcome setbacks and continue moving forward, and his belief in his side paid dividends following a historic league campaign.
The German has shown his willingness to spend if he can improve his side, but his preference for improving his current options through coaching should serve as a lesson to the division’s cheque-book managers.
Liverpool leave it late at Villa, again
Much of Liverpool’s unprecedented consistency has come via a dogged determination when things are not going their way. Jurgen Klopp’s side have kept their cool and shown no signs of panic during some of their poorest performances, an attitude and confidence which has led to a series of vital late interventions.
James Milner’s stoppage-time penalty in the victory over Leicester and Adam Lallana’s dramatic equaliser at Manchester United were both memorable moments in the campaign, but the Reds late show against struggling Aston Villa was perhaps their greatest display of internal belief.
Dean Smith’s struggling side had threatened to cause a huge upset against the league leaders after taking a first-half lead through Trezeguet, and looked to be headed to three points with just minutes remaining on the clock.
Liverpool’s equaliser came via an unlikely source as Andy Robertson crashed home a header with just three minutes to go, though a far from content Reds’ side continued to push forward well into stoppage-time.
Their reward came as Sadio Mane glanced home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 94th minute corner, sparking wild celebrations in the Midlands and maintaining the club’s six-point cushion over a Manchester City side who headed to Anfield the following week.
City crumble in Anfield atmosphere as Reds go nine clear
Trips to the red half of Merseyside have not been kind to Manchester City in recent years, with a goalless draw in last season’s meeting the only time the side have avoided defeat in their previous six Premier League clashes at Anfield.
The November meeting between the two title-challengers took on added significance with Liverpool six points clear of the side who pipped them to the Premier League last season, but an effervescent display from the home side blew the visitors away and signalled the passing of the torch.
The back-to-back champions simply couldn’t cope with Liverpool’s relentless attacking display and whilst Pep Guardiola may have grumbled over questionable refereeing decisions, his side were second best to Klopp’s rampant Reds.
Fabinho opened the scoring after just six minutes with a thunderous effort from distance, before Mohamed Salah headed home Andy Robertson’s superb delivery to double the advantage just seven minutes later.
Sadio Mane made it three without reply early in the second half, with Bernardo Silva’s reply for City little more than a consolation for the beaten champions. Liverpool moved eight clear of Chelsea and Leicester at the top of the division, and perhaps more crucially, nine clear of their defeated opposition.
Henderson states case for Player of the Year in Fabinho absence
Such has been the champion’s remarkable consistency, it can be overlooked the notable injuries sustained to key players in the midst of their title-winning campaign.
Whilst every side has endured injury problems throughout the course of the campaign, Liverpool’s significant losses came to players with no like-for-like replacement in either style or quality.
Alisson’s injury in the season opener to Norwich saw summer signing Adrian thrust into the spotlight, the Spaniard’s free transfer move from West Ham proving a smart acquisition as he kept goal during the former’s three-month absence.
Arguably the most important step-up was that of Jordan Henderson, who embarked on a career-best run of form following a serious ankle injury to Fabinho that threatened to derail the club’s momentum.
Henderson had impressed in a role further forward and was working brilliantly in tandem with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah down the Reds’ right-flank, before covering the loss of Fabinho with a series of disciplined performances at the base of Klopp’s midfield.
Henderson’s renowned energy and tenacity helped drive Liverpool forward through a hectic festive fixture list in the absence of their midfield anchor, his performances moving a once-maligned player into contention for the Premier League’s highest individual honours.
Foxes hit for four during flawless festive run
Liverpool’s staggering start to the season led many questioning where Klopp’s side could come unstuck, and a congested fixture pile-up throughout December – including a trip to Qatar to play in the Club World Cup – was viewed as potentially problematic.
The league leaders began the month with a Merseyside derby thrashing of Everton before victories over Bournemouth and Watford respectively, a solid start to a month that saw the club play nine fixtures across all competitions.
Silverware was added to a burgeoning collection as the European champions secured the Club World Cup, before flying back just days before a difficult looking clash against former manager Brendan Rodgers and nearest challengers, Leicester.
Any thoughts that the title race may be blown wide open were soon erased following Liverpool’s finest performance of the season, Trent Alexander-Arnold the star of the show as Klopp’s side ran riot at the King Power Stadium.
Alexander-Arnold scored once and provided two assists during a 4-0 thrashing of the Foxes, victory extending Liverpool’s advantage at the top to 13 points after a ninth consecutive Premier League victory.
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