Underappreciated, underrated, under-celebrated, a title that will live long in the memory of Liverpool fans winning their first in 30 years, but didn’t receive the praise it deserved.
COVID-19 was rampant, and the season was interrupted in March 2020 due to the global pandemic. The league was suspended for several weeks, and there were concerns about whether the season would be completed. Eventually, the Premier League resumed in June 2020, with matches played behind closed doors. The world was in a unique situation when Jordan Henderson got the chance to lift the Premier League trophy in an empty Anfield in July 2020. This may have overshadowed what an unbelievable achievement the Reds had achieved to knock a Man City side at the peak of their powers off their perch.
The title win, however, seems to be understated; going toe to toe with a Man City side that has been charged with breaking financial fair play rules over 100 times is an extreme feat in football. However, fans ignore this, with most, whether they are simply trolling or being serious, replying, “It was a COVID league,” despite Klopp’s team being a whopping 25 points above second place when the world stood still for the pandemic. The league was over before COVID hit, and it would have taken a monstrous collapse for someone else to be crowned champions.
There is no doubt that if football had not been postponed, the world had not been put on standby, and the Coronavirus hadn’t reared its head, Liverpool would have had the Premier League wrapped up in March, accumulating 88 points two months before the seasons end in May.
For context, Manchester City’s Treble winners won the league on 89. Just one point fewer than this Liverpool team would have had in GW31 if they had won their next two games had COVID-19 not struck. Additionally, their 27-game run of 26 wins and one draw is likely an achievement we won’t see in England for a long time.
Liverpool essentially did the IMPOSSIBLE. They beat a team over a season-long campaign created by bending the rules. A team who are accused of cheating not once, not twice, but 115 times!
Furthermore, having achieved a record 97 points without winning the title in 2018/19, many would’ve agreed it would take a momentous effort to get back to that standard again. But playing a heavy metal, attractive brand of football, it seemed as though anything was possible for a squad of players that were full of confidence, having lifted the club’s sixth Champions League title in the previous June.
How It Went Down
Unlike the previous season, the two teams at the top of the table, Man City and Liverpool, had contrasting starts to the campaign. Liverpool began with a faultless 8-game winning streak while City stuttered, dropping eight points at the same stage.
In search of three in a row, City’s surprisingly slow start gave confidence to a Liverpool side that was clearly in the mood for another title race, having been edged out by the minimum in the previous season. A 3-2 defeat to newly promoted Norwich was a sign of a possible domestic hangover for Pep Guardiola’s charges.
Liverpool’s 18 consecutive wins between October 27th, 2019, and February 24th, 2020, indicated the relentless standards that Jurgen Klopp was implementing at Anfield. During this remarkable run of wins, Man City, Man Utd, and Chelsea struggled to keep pace with the Reds.
Virgil Van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, and Trent Alexander-Arnold were the only players to feature in all Premier League matches throughout the season, and their No. 66 was the top assister (13) in the squad. Having four players in the top 10 overall assist rankings was a sign of the creativity they possessed all over the pitch.
Mohammad Salah and Sadio Mane’s combined contribution of 36 goals, along with a rock-solid defence of Alisson, Andrew Robertson, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Trent Alexander Arnold, set a platform for what ended up being Liverpool’s highest-ever Premier League points total.
A midfield triumvirate of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Georginio Wijnaldum was rock solid in shielding the defence while contributing forward. A crucial Fabinho goal at Anfield on November 10th, 2019, in a 3-1 win against Manchester City proved vital. The remarkable consistency of Klopp’s starting XI each week no doubt had a positive impact on the team.
Few would’ve believed a 2-1 victory at home to Bournemouth at the beginning of March 2020 would be the final time Reds fans would witness the title charge in the flesh that season. There were fears without the famous Anfield atmosphere, there would be a drop-off in performance, but the positive results kept coming despite the missing crowd. The eventual title winners picked up 10 points from a possible 12 at home during the remainder of the season.
A dominant 5-3 defeat of Chelsea in Matchday 37 indicated the gulf in class between the league leaders and Frank Lampard’s fourth-place blues. The title would be lifted on the same day.
The 99 points achieved were one of many examples of not only how dominant Jurgen Klopp’s side were but also the relentless nature of their season over 38 matches while going unbeaten throughout the first 27 matches.
The allegations of City’s inability to provide “accurate financial information” when their spending in transfer fees and wages was off the charts is another reason Liverpool’s title should never be played down and can only be described as one of the league’s most incredible achievements.
Overall, the season will be remembered for the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the determination of the teams to complete the campaign under unprecedented circumstances. Still, the brilliance of a Liverpool side that achieved 97 and 98 points in consecutive seasons cannot be underestimated. It is about time Klopp’s 2019/2020 squad gets more respect.