So far, it has been the season of all seasons.
With football and with many things in life, it’s hard to realise just how good you have it until it all drifts away and becomes part of nostalgia, only to be spoken about in the past tense from then on.
Counting out the possibility of Liverpool ever being taken over by a Russian oligarch or an oil-rich royal family in the Middle East, we will surely never see anything quite like this again, nor should we want to see success funded by the sort of financial doping that has been necessary to gain a record close to that of the Reds’ this season.
Only two sides have ever accumulated more points in the Premier League era than this year’s Liverpool after twenty games. One was a post-Abramovich Chelsea team, the other was last season’s champions, a squad formed out of over a billion pounds’ worth of investment from a bottomless Arab bank account.
After Liverpool 18/19 there is a four point drop-off to United’s 06/07 squad, which contained the likes of Ronaldo, Giggs, Scholes, Rooney and Ferdinand to name a few, before two other Abramovich-funded Chelsea teams in fifth and sixth.
Incredibly, even Arsenal’s Invincibles were eight points worse off at this stage of the season.
Those of us under the age of forty often reminisce about 08/09 and 13/14 being the best days of our LFC-supporting lives, certainly as far as the league goes. Even the club do it.
It’s hard to go a few weeks without seeing a ‘On this day…’ clip released by Liverpool on Twitter. While it’s oh so fun to watch Luis Suarez score after seemingly slaloming through twelve players or relive Benayoun’s glorious last-gasp goal at Craven Cottage, we should realise we’re living in a time even better than that of all our ‘nearly seasons’.
The class of 2018 are nine points ahead of what Rafa’s 08/09 side managed after twenty games and fifteen clear of Brendan Rodgers’ heroes of 13/14.
Chances are, you will never see the likes of it again from a Liverpool side. 54 points from a possible 60 is about as good as any club can dream for in the Premier League, and even then it tends to only be attainable for a properly world class team.
Liverpool have reached 54 points tonight.
They got 52 in total in 2011/12.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) December 29, 2018
Aside from silverware, which will hopefully follow, this is as good as it gets.
Eight matches in December and eight wins. Huge clashes against United, Everton, Arsenal and a must-win tie in Europe against Napoli, dotted around away trips to Molineux, Turf Moor and the Vitality Stadium. All of the above plus a Boxing Day fixture against Newcastle squeezed into a 28 day period.
Imagine going back in time to the morning of the derby and telling someone that these unstoppable Reds would win all eight. The audacity of them.
Maybe it’s the pace that Liverpool are having to go at that makes it harder to truly enjoy, something that could certainly be solved by creating a bigger gap in between themselves and City on Thursday night.
Normal teams don’t win eight in a row. Even good teams don’t win eight in a row. It doesn’t matter if you’re favourites for each individual game, you still settle for the odd draw away to a Crystal Palace or a Wolves when looking at a pack of games, it’s how this works. Otherwise, Manchester United would’ve finished on 114 points every year from 1993 until 2009.
But as we enter 2019, it is hard to think of how the first half of the season could’ve gone better. Liverpool have basically had the season that you used to come up with when asked to dream up your best, wildly unrealistic league-winning fantasy.
“Err yeah, how about an unbeaten 100 point-season that involves a 96th minute derby winner and getting Jose Mourinho the sack from United. Oh, a late worldie at Stamford Bridge from Dan Sturridge and a 5-1 win over Arsenal as well, all before New Year’s”
Try and dream of a season better than this. It does not exist. Even the three draws and City being as fantastic a side as they are simply make it more wonderful. It gives life to the title race.
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) December 31, 2018
It is infinitely more enjoyable to win the title in May by two points then do what City did last year and know you have it in your pocket from November onwards. Well I imagine so anyway, none of us really have much experience in the area.
The Reds are in uncharted territory. Enjoy it, we are living the dream.