If there’s a club that knows a thing about success—especially recently—being defined by fine margins, it’s Liverpool. The trophy case at Anfield has been replenished in recent years, but it wouldn’t have taken much for the scale of that revitalization to be even grander.
There was John Stones’s goal-line clearance against the Reds in January 2019, which ultimately decided the Premier League title by a literal matter of millimeters. As recently as the last few weeks, two more goal-line escapades have helped determine its fortunes, with one Man City goalkeeper, Ederson, narrowly avoiding a goal-mouth catastrophe in a league draw vs. Liverpool, while another, U.S. starter Zack Steffen, wasn’t so fortunate in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal defeat.
So while Liverpool remains on a historic quest—no English club has ever pulled off the quadruple, though a few have come close—it must also be wary of how fragile that quest is. The Reds have lost just three times across all competitions all season, and one of those was the second leg of a Champions League tie from which it advanced. It’s a season worthy of multiple titles, but being deserving doesn’t come with any guarantees.
Liverpool already has the League Cup trophy in its grasp, and it’s quite clearly one of England’s best two teams, if not one of Europe’s top two as well. Yet the fine margins that have dictated the club’s trophy haul in the past could once again come into play. Liverpool could rattle off another hat trick of silverware and go down in history. Or it could wind up with just the one that it already has and have little else tangible to show for what has otherwise been a sensational campaign.
After Tuesday’s 4–0 rout of Manchester United, Liverpool provisionally leads Man City for first place by two points, having played a game more. The clubs are on a path eerily reminiscent of their 2018–19 home stretch when they matched each other result for result only for Liverpool to finish a point off the pace. By virtue of the weekend’s results, Liverpool will face Chelsea for the chance to win its first FA Cup since ’06 in a ’22 League Cup final rematch—a rematch of a scoreless draw settled by the finest of margins, an 11–10 penalty shootout that came down to a substitute goalkeeper’s spot kick. And if it can get by Unai Emery’s giant-slaying Villarreal in the Champions League semifinals, it’ll play either City or Real Madrid for the Champions League title. It’s all there for the taking for a club whose stars have each stepped up at different times and whose depth has been key in sustaining a premium level of play all season long.
Regardless of what the internal feelings are, Jürgen Klopp isn’t publicly getting caught up with the possibilities. Despite Liverpool’s advancement to the FA Cup final and the club’s proximity to the Premier League and Champions League titles, the manager still sees the ultimate goal as something of a fantasy.
“You can mention whatever you want, but it doesn’t make it more likely. You won’t get the answers you want from me. I think a game like today shows it even more how unlikely it is to do something like that,” Klopp said regarding the quadruple quest following Saturday’s 3–2 triumph. “We went through now against City, which is incredibly difficult and intense, and in three days we play again against Man United, who with their three points today and the results from Tottenham and Arsenal, the fight for the Champions League, the door is open for all of the three. So, they will be on their toes and it is historically not a friendly game.
“Then in a few days we play Everton, in the situation they are, it will not be a friendly game. Then we play Villarreal, will not be a friendly game. Then Newcastle and all these kind of things, so it’s just incredibly intense and it is really unlikely the team will win all the games. With the FA Cup final now, I think the Southampton game will now be moved; if I am 100% right, that means we play Southampton in the midweek and so, it’s really unlikely.
“But I couldn’t care less, to be honest; I couldn’t. It is just, let’s go for it; let’s try to win the next game and then we will see how we can recover between now and then—and then and then and all these kind of things. We will see.”
It’s that first-things-first mentality that has Liverpool in position to be so close to history. And Klopp speaks from a place of experience. He knows firsthand better than anyone just how little it takes for a valiant and deserving trophy quest to come up painfully short.
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