By Timothy Cassidy
For 29 games, Liverpool have played some of the best football we have ever seen. Until the post-Christmas break, it was hard to even imagine them being beaten. Of course, time, fatigue, injuries and well-organized and motivated adversaries eventually lead to their one league defeat having also only drawn one match (in October). And, they have been eliminated from the Champions League, too. At the time of the shutdown, their record was 27-1-1. Not too shabby, considering the next closest rival sits at 18-3-7 – 25 points behind albeit with one match in hand.
In the weeks following the postponement of the season, much ink has been devoted to when the season will restart (largely for financial reasons). However, the severity of the pandemic and the continued difficulty health officials and indeed the entire country has had containing it, points to a much more realistic scenario – the football season will be cancelled. Of course, this will affect many people and clubs within the industry differently but there seems no way around it. Morally, the life of one person is worth more than any number of Premier League matches.
Some are saying that since Liverpool is so far in front that they should be declared champions. Many Arsenal supporters feel that we were turning the corner and we just may have been able to nick a European spot…maybe, maybe not.
Those who support Liverpool, however, feel that they have done enough to be given the mantle of champions. After all, six more points gained by Liverpool or lost by Man City would see the title clinched. And this with only 10 matches left to play! It would take some set of rose-tinted glasses for any Man City fan to think that they might be able to snatch the title from the Merseyside club.
However, and this is a big ‘however’, although Liverpool has clearly been the best team over 29 matches, teams have not played an equal schedule. Until every team has played the other teams an equal amount times (2) the schedule is not balanced; the schedule is not fair. No matter how small the probability of Man City passing Liverpool, they could mathematically do it. And, every team poses a different set of problems for others.
A technical side poses different problems than an agricultural side would and so on. After all, it wasn’t Man City or Leicester that ended Liverpool’s unbeaten streak but rather Watford who are above relegation on goal difference only. Imagine what would happen if a team were to play a more physical side and a robust challenge (or two) were to remove its top player (or two) from future matches. All bets would be off then, no? In short, I believe that if the season is not completed the Premier League cannot and should not declare Liverpool champions.
If the season were to end now Liverpool could be recognized for their efforts over the last 6 months, however. The Premier League recognized Arsenal’s unbeaten season with a golden trophy. Something on those lines would be fine with me as long as the term ‘League Champions’ is not attached to it. They have been the best team in England, the most entertaining, too but they haven’t yet earned the title of ‘League Champions’
So this is where things get muddled. If the season is completed, then no problem – presuming the go-ahead from health officials. If the season is cancelled, then what do we say about it? I am saying that no champion should be declared (and presumably no club gets relegated either).
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14 Replies to “Liverpool deserve to be recognized, just not as league champions”
You absolute gobshite
I agree that we shouldn’t be declared Champions without an end to the season. But the season must 100% be concluded. If we’re able to play football again in September or October or November or whenever that might be, we finish the current season which is already 29 games in. Zero logic in cancelling the season and starting a new one. If you have to cancel NEXT season then fine, but you have to finish this season first. The integrity of the league would be shot and there would be litigation all over the place. Broadcasters, sponsors, teams, etc. And what happens in Europe next season? Tottenham back in the Champions League? Liverpool 2 games away. Leeds, West Brom. Leicester in CL. Nonsense. The current season must be concluded whenever that will be possible. Next season can be contracted as, cups can be cancelled, international friendlies cancelled obviously, etc. And everyone will start next season on the same footing and understanding.
Who would represent the premiership in the champions league. What happens to bt and sky money, what happens to promotions and relegations. This season must be completed for the integrity of football in Europe.
More should be done to expose poor reporting.
Annon, I chose to publish your comment because I think it does represent quite a strand of thinking and opinion in football at the moment, and it is a strand that is seriously holding development in the game back. If you compare this with Michael’s well reasoned piece just now you’ll understand a lot more about what is wrong with football. Michael has made a logical and well-considered point. We might or might not agree but there is the argument, the points are well made, we can take matters forward. But your approach just takes us back into the mire, and it is the fact that your approach is so common that causes football to have so many problems at the moment. It is people like you who believe that by writing a three word answer to a well-argued piece you actually have something to say, that are helping cause the problems that football – not to mention our society in general – has.
There is an arguement for the whole season to be made void. The game was played in the English Premier League with the PGMOL officiating in a way outside the Laws of the Game. Their combination of arrogance and has jeopardised the financial rewards and the position of the English game in the whole of the professional game.
The very simple abuse of the VAR system of assistance, to making it controlling and absolute by not allowing the match Referee to refer to the pitch side monitor (as has been done in every other league) before making his decision. This fact takes away the integrity of the officiating as per the Laws of The Game and makes the Game unlawful from the sporting perspective.
Irrelevant of the position of any team in the league, the whole season becomes void because the Laws were not adhered to in the EPL.
Their combination of arrogance and ignorance has jeopardised the financial rewards and the position of the English game in the whole of the professional game.
It started at Estadio Metropolitano with the loss against Atletico Madrid, 1-0. The loss itself was not so chocking, Liverpool had lost before this unforgettable season, in september 2019 against Napoli in Champions League and in december against Aston Villa in the League cup. But the loss on the 18th of february was a beginning of something extraordinary, something that it’s hard to believe should be made possible by earthly powers alone.
The completely unexpected happened late in the afternoon on the 29th of february, what has been named “The Leap Day Massacre” (or “The Murder at the Vicarage”) when Liverpool lost to the relegation candidate Watford after three surprising goals in the second half. Unbeaten for more than a year in the league lost Liverpool here not only the game, they even lost the dream of invincibility and of beating Asn’ls old record of 49 straight games without loss.
And in that situation, when the winning feeling was so important to reestablish, manager Klopp took his men to Stanford Bridge in London for a clash against Chelsea in the 5th round of the FA-cup. But he left to many of his starting XI on the bench at kick off, and realized far to late that mistake. When he in the second half substituted Firmino and Salah, the match was already gone. 2-0 for Chelsea. This was on the evening of the 3rd of march, and it was the third loss in two weeks for the unbeatable Liverpool FC.
Then they won against Bournemouth on the 7th, 2-1 after a weak start. It was the last PL match this season – probably. But at that time they didn’t know. Perhaps the Liverpool players lived in the illusion that this dreamlike season would last forever.
That was exactly two month after the chinese authorities had identified the new pneumonia virus from the Hubei province as a corona virus. Two weeks later they become aware of that this extremely aggressive virus infects from human to human. By that time people were dying. On the 20th of january 2020.
On the evening before, the 19th, Liverpool beat Manchester United with 2 goals against 0. That was in the 23rd round of the EPL and Pool were since long established as this years winner of the Premiership – in a more than comfortable fashion.
Then on wednesday the 11th of march (the same day the first game in the Premier League season of 2019-20, that one between Manchester city and Arsenal, was postponed) it was time for the second leg vs Atletico Madrid at Anfield. The winner were heading to the last eight of the prestigious Champions League, in which Liverpool FC was the titleholder. They had the year before turned a three goal loss to a win by four to three against Barcelona in one of the best matches ever played by a british team.
Now they were just minus one goal against Atletico after the first leg. But the number two team of the spanish capitol is something completely different to meet than the attack oriented Barca. Atletico Madrid is used to play under pressure, they’ve done it so many times before, against Real Madrid and against Barcelona, against players like Christiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. And a goal for the spaniards at Anfield would force Liverpool to strike thrice.
The match goes to overtime after a Liverpool goal late in the first half. And when Firmino scores a second goal for Liverpool in OT the home team was on the Highway to Glory. But the visitors had their tactics clear: We don’t do more than we have to, until we have to. It was no coincidence that after Liverpool’s second goal, when Atletico suddenly must score to win, they did so – and did it thrice. The spanish manager Diego Simeone is a master mind. The mighty Liverpool lost again. For the fourth time in less than a month.
They had lost the chance to make statistically history by beating Arsenal’s match record, they lost in the FA-cup, and now they were kicked out of the Champions League by a team who tactically played much smarter. The dream of a back to back win in CL went up in smoke.
By that time, when Liverpool Football Club were leading Premier League with remarkable 25 points ahead of the reigning champions Manchester City, the China virus, now namned covid-19, had like a reminiscence of the Black Death of the 14th century reached Europe and occupied Italy. The New Plague then went across the Alps and with a pace and aggressiveness that were frightening everybody it was putting the northern hemisphere under it’s spell.
One of the consequences was that the only title Liverpool FC still had the chance to win, the title the club leaders, the players and the many fans around the world never thought could be taken from them – the victory in the Premier League – by this virus de facto was taken from them!
For me personally it’s hard to believe that all this has taken place. It feels unreal.It is like we are dealing with powers from an another earthly level than that of the green grass of Anfield Road. Can it be so fantastic and unbelievable that The Red Devils of Anfield have an intimus relationship with Mr D himself? That could explain a lot.
Even if this sounds KoKo, it could for example explain the final of the Champions League 2018. Mr D loves his small red devils so much that he beats one of them with madness. And naturally, just because he is the Power Player he is, he chose the goalkeeper. In the first half Mr D let a brutal slayer in white take out the red player who is expected to score their winning goals. And in the second half…
Two years later, Mr D appear on the scene again (and strikes again), with a power and brutality ten times as hard as before. Everybody who is thinking deeply about this, must come to the same conclusion as the lovely Lady Karren Brady, after EPL, FA etc made the necessary decision to postponed all matches in the league at least to the 3rd of april (later the 30th), that the only sensible thing to do is to declare the Premier League season of 2019-20 “null and void”. And why? Because it’s the only reasonably just and fair decision under the circumstances. Just and fair even to Liverpool.
Yes, I can fully understand that the Liverpool fans are mad about the situation. but the only thing that can save Liverpool’s sooo very well deserved Premiership title this year, is that the Plague have a short active period as a deadly threat (let’s say a couple of months), and that then during the summer the season of 2019-20 can be completed. That is if the League beats the Plague.
If on the other hand the Plague beats the League, and all the 38 rounds can’t be completed, this season better goes to the history books for all it’s abnormalities, as the Plague season that never were finished. The season when Liverpool Football Club played the most effective soccer ever seen on the british isles, and maybe elsewhere. When they had to leave their masterpiece as a torso after 29 rounds in the year of the death of thousands and thousands. Not even Liverpool in the form they were this year could hope to win a game against death.
Of course you must lose that game, Liverpool, and I’m sure that all your eminent players don’t want a 75% Premiership, a premiership that is given to you by the other nineteen teams in the league. There we have Mr D again. He does not deny himself, does he? He loves you so much that he punish you like this. He knows that non of you want it this way. Non of you players want to have the title given to you as a gift from your opponents, from Asn’l, from Chelsea, from Tottenham. Because they will never let you forget that is was they who gave it to you, that it was a gift from them. Never…
You want to win the title the only way it can be won, by standing there after 38 rounds of football with more points than any other team. Undisputed champions. No discussion. No bullshit. With the trophy in your hands to lift up in the air.
But if that isn’t possible. If the only way to get the for thirty years awaited league victory is associated with humiliation, is it still worth the prize? A title given to you, not because you’ve won it, for you haven’t. You have deserved it – yes! – but you haven’t won it, you haven’t earned it. It would be given to you just because the others pity you, feel sorry for you. I’m sure that you all find that situation unacceptable. For that title would be of no value. And if they – the Association, the League and the other teams in the first division – nonetheless are trying to persuade you to accept it, I’m sure you will trow it away with disgust. Saying with pain in your hearts: To hell with that 75% Premiership!
The language is SWEnglish. I hope you can oversee with my verbal shortcomings. RA.
I read Ben’s article and then decided to see where Simon Mullock came from and if he had any football leanings . Well it seems from his portfolio he is Northern based and the number of Manchester City articles suggests that he either is a mouthpiece for them or certainly has the ear of someone there.
His article firstly drags up the Henry Norris story just to add a little credibility to his last sentence but glosses over in one line the fact that if asked Arsenal would deny the accusation .
My conclusion is that he is running out of things to write about but is trying to curry favour in his own neck of the woods.
You had me censored! Was it that good? You flatterers. Of course I have to accept it. But you have my e-mail address. Can’t you send the text to me. I like it – and it’s mine. Please.
I think the fact that many lower leagues have been voided looms large in the debate. There are teams that are mathematically champions who end up with nothing. This has been decided by the FA which leaves them in a difficult position if they treat the professional leagues in any other way. I can sympathise with LiVARpool supporters because as rightly said above they were outstanding in the first part of the season but can see it being a real can of worms if they receive a trophy while lower divisions do not. I did enjoy the reply to Annon after finding it to be a very strange contribution.
The only time the football season has been declared void was 1939-40 after the third set of matches on the 2nd September because of the declaration of World War Two the following day. Arsenal had a 5-2 victory over Sunderland at Highbury in front of a crowd of only 17,141 which under the tension of the time was understandable. Ted Drake scored four times.
So after three games the top of the table looked like this:
P W D L F A Pts
1 Blackpool 3 3 0 0 5 2 6
2 Sheffield Utd 3 2 1 0 3 1 5
3 Arsenal 3 2 1 0 8 4 5
4 Liverpool 3 2 0 1 6 3 4
5 Everton 3 1 2 0 5 4 4
6 Bolton W 3 2 0 1 6 5 4
7 Derby Co 3 2 0 1 3 3 4
8 Charlton Ath 3 2 0 1 3 4 4
Statistics from ‘Soccer at War 1939-45’ by Jack Rollin and ‘Arsenal a Complete Record 1886 1990’ by Fred Ollier.
Note that interestingly if goal difference had been used then instead of goal avererage Arsenal would have been second but of course you have to accept the rules of the time.
The point I am making, with tongue firmly in cheek, that if liverpool are declared champions without the league fixtures fulfilled Blackpool have an historical claim to the old First Division title and be Champions for the only time in their history! And they would have held it for the next six years. If this season is counted out I think the playing records of clubs and players should still be counted as official. If that is the case so should the matches of 1939-40 and Drake’s four goals should be added to his goals scored record, which has always been a sore point with me.
Whatever happens may I wish Tony, all his team and readers to keep well and safe during this crisis and afterwards everything returns to normal with important lessons learned.
I would guess the author of this thread, does not feel that LiVARpool! were presented with a tilted (for them) field to play on much (? most? all?) of the season to date. If it was mentioned, I missed it.
I would rather not see two league championships presented in such a short period of time which look suspect. Having one presented was bad enough. But if people at clubs and people in the medja are prevented from talking about this, then it may take a while to expose this nonsense.
But sure, if people want to congratulate LiVARpool! for playing good football, finding some way to congratulate them not involving the gift of winning the league is fine.
On the virus front, apparently that doctor who had been kidnapped in Haiti has been released.
Robert the simplest thing would have been for you to bother to read the page “Comments” which tells you exactly how this site works and why. All the details are there. You have sent in a text in Swedish, which I don’t understand even when translated into English, and yes it was held in moderation with your other comments simply because at around 6,30pm BST yesterday I took a break from moderating this site, made a series of phone calls and watched TV. Anyone commenting for the first time, along with anyone who has previously sent in a comment that has appeared to be outside our guidelines has to wait for the text to be cleared because this site is under constant attack from people who feel it would be better if we did not publish anything at all.
Quite why you think we would publish a text in Swedish is beyond me.
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