Craig Salmon considers whether Jurgen Klopp’s men can finally end their long wait for a Premier League title success
Growing up in the 1980s, there were always a few things which remained constant in life.
Maggie Thatcher always lived at No.10 Downing Street, myself and my sister had to eat our tea at the table and Liverpool Football Club generally swept-up the biggest prizes English football had to offer.
Watching Souness, Dalglish, Grobbelaar, Hansen et al parading the ‘The Lady’ joyously in front of a swaying Kop – usually a month before the league season had finished – is one of the abiding memories of my childhood.
Not that I was ever a Liverpool fan, but I always had a grudging respect for the club and the way they were able to dominate not just domestically but in Europe as well.
There was always something mystical about their success, from hearing stories of Shankly and the much-vaunted ‘Boot Room’ to their ability to unearth hidden gems – usually of Welsh, Scottish and Irish heritage – and turn them into household names.
Unlike today’s modern era of tactical formations, 23-man strong squads and multi-million pound wages, Liverpool players – by all accounts – were able to finish ahead of everybody else thanks to a diet of five-a-side in training and being casually told to, ‘Go out and play’ by Bob Paisley on a Saturday afternoon.
Up and down the country, they were the favourite team of many a schoolboy, although I must admit for a couple of years in the mid-1980s, I had a soft spot for Everton because they were the only side able to interrupt the Liverpool juggernaut from sweeping all before them.
I bet all those who nailed their colours firmly to the Reds’ mast back then would never have imagined that Liverpool would later go the best part of three decades without a single league title to their name.
The year 1990 is the last time Liverpool finished ahead of everybody else in English football – their 18th title.
It’s a startling statistic, especially considering they are still in second place – having been overtaken by Manchester United – when it comes to who has won the most league titles. Any time I visit Anfield on matchday, I am always struck by the number of banners and flags in the Kop – and elsewhere in the stadium – alluding to their great past.
From the feast to the famine, I guess most Liverpool fans would just pray for one year when they finally end their title hoodoo and celebrate a modern-day victory.
This season Jurgen Klopp’s men are in with a great chance of winning the Premier League, having lost just once.
However, will the weight of history and expectation be too much on the players in the final run-in?
In the interests of competition, I’d like to see them do it – but then there’s Manchester City...