Even though they are officially the best team in the world, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes they are just “one of the best” and not “the best” side on the planet.
Ahem, modesty alert.
Liverpool have the chance to go 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League table when they host West Ham on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and Klopp’s reigning European and World Club Cup champs have ripped apart teams at will over the last 18 months after reaching back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals.
So, why doesn’t he think they are the best team on the planet?
Many pointed to Liverpool’s 1-0 UCL defeat at Atletico Madrid last week showing that they finally ran out of a little bit of luck. They have won 12 Premier League games by a one-goal margin this season and although you cannot argue with Liverpool’s amazing run of 25 wins from 26 games and a 17-game winning run Klopp isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“This thing with ‘the best team in the world,’ I don’t really get it,” Klopp said. “It’s nice when people say it. It’s better than if they say you are the worst team in the world obviously. Usually if people mention ‘the best team in the world,’ you think of Real Madrid from a few years ago, Barcelona from a few years ago, Man City of the last two years and stuff like this. The team we have is about attitude – go and go and go – mixed with really good football players. But I think for the whole world, Liverpool are one of the top, top, top, top clubs.”
So where will this 2019-20 Liverpool team stack up as being the best team in the world?
From a pure soccer playing perspective they are probably behind the Barcelona teams of Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola, and even Pep’s recent teams at Man City. But are they better than the Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid teams? Probably.
The key word here is team. Klopp is correct to point out that this Liverpool side is more about the sum of its parts than incredible individual talents. Yes, they have Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson in defense, but they are a hard-working team which is a well-oiled machine and they are relentless.
Are Liverpool the best team in world history to watch? Perhaps not. Are they the most exciting team in the world to watch? I’d say so.
Slick passing, wonderful goals and flowing moves are a thing of beauty but Liverpool’s pace, power and precision can be just as good, if not better, to watch.
Klopp and Liverpool won’t be celebrating until they seal the Premier League title (five more wins are need, by the way) but they can start to feel very good about their achievements and they will be certainly be in the conversation alongside Real, Barcelona and Man City for having the best teams European soccer has seen in the last two decades.