Around this date five years ago, Luis Suarez was completing his dream move from Liverpool to Barcelona in La Liga. With the Uruguayan’s departure came the end of any hope Brendan Rodgers’ Reds had of challenging for the Premier League title again.
In 2013/14, with a front three of Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool had pushed Manchester City mighty close for that season’s league championship trophy.
Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho helped pull the strings from the midfield for that Liverpool side which steamrollered its way to 101 league goals in their 38 games. The problem was they had also conceded 50 along the way.
That season under Rodgers, however, it often felt like it was down to Suarez’s incredible talents rather than any genius or tactical nous the manager was imparting on the team. After Suarez left for Barcelona, Liverpool stumbled to a sixth-place finish the following season. Then Sterling left for Manchester City and Gerrard went on his way to LA Galaxy.
Any dreams Reds fans had allowed themselves to enjoy in the 2013/14 campaign were now very, very distant memories.
Yet, here we are. Dreaming again. Jurgen Klopp has been at the club for almost four years and in that time The Reds have put in their best-ever Premier League season while also navigating their way to a second consecutive Champions League final in 12 months – this time winning it, their sixth European Cup.
The main difference now is that no-one seems to be eager to head for the Anfield exit doors. Why would they? Liverpool has taken its place back at the top table of domestic and European football. There’s nowhere better to be as a professional footballer. If you’ve got the right attitude and want to develop under one of the top coaches in world football, Liverpool is the place for you.
In 2014, the squad felt like it was being held together by a thread. Rodgers’ talk could only get him so much time with players the ilk of Suarez and co. Now, it’s Klopp who is the real superstar at the club.
Rodgers’ team depended solely on the attack because the goals were flying in at both ends. That’s not the case for Klopp’s Reds – with possibly the world’s best goalkeeper AND centre-back in the team leading them to the Premier League’s best defensive record last season.
Many fans are fretting about the lack of transfer activity at the club so far. There are still four weeks left in the transfer window. Whatever happens between now and when Liverpool face Norwich at Anfield on August 9th, know that this club is in a far better place now than it was five years ago.