By any measure other than “Did you win the title?”, Liverpool’s 2018-19 Premier League campaign was a massive success.
After finishing 25 points behind last season’s champions, Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds closed the gap by 24 points by posting the third-highest points total in PL history this season. The only problem with that, of course: the gap remained at one point, thus Liverpool finish as runners-up despite losing just one game all season, to Man City.
Could Klopp and Co., have done anything more (i.e., been not “close to perfection,” but actually perfect)? (quotes from the BBC):
“Not really. I know people will find something and say a point here or three. We had lucky moments, City had lucky moments — against Burnley and us. But we scored a strange goal against Everton and a late one against Newcastle.
“It’s not about outplaying everyone, it’s about keeping believing and staying in the race. City found it difficult to get rid of us, and we couldn’t get rid of them.
“Being second in the Premier League isn’t what we wanted tonight, but we’ll take it. This is a first step, that’s how we see it. The team who played the last couple of weeks were together last year apart from Alisson.
“We were 25 points off [Man City] last season. If we do those same steps again, that will be a season. The boys deserve 100 percent. Congratulations to Manchester City, they played a good season. They took 198 points in two seasons. Not bad.”
“We tried everything to make it as difficult as possible, but not difficult enough. I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.
“It’s incredible what they did all season, and today was a strange situation. We were really good until 1-0, what happened then was clear. You can’t tell the people to calm down. At that moment [when Liverpool fans celebrated Brighton’s goal], it was a shock for everyone and Wolves were there. We had to fight. In the end, we scored two and kept a clean sheet. It’s nice, but not how we wanted it.
“It’s clear we had to work hard, and City, too. Our target during the week was to get 97 points, we got that — that’s special. We want to write our own history, and we did. Today feels not so good, but we have plenty of time to prepare for an important game in three weeks.”
That “important game in three weeks” is, of course, the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur. All is not lost for Liverpool, who could still finish the season by lifting the one trophy which has eluded Man City — the trophy they desire the most.