With Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a league title seemingly no longer a matter of if rather than when following their obliteration of the English top-flight this campaign, there is a natural tendency for supporters to now turn their attention over to Europe and the defence of Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League crown.
While the Reds’ hopes of retaining their continental crown took a minor dent following their 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid last night’s Champions League action will certainly have provided Liverpool players with the motivation needed to not allow an alternate reality to last season transpire.
Liverpool’s bitter rivals and closest challengers Manchester City took a huge step to the last-eight of the competition following their 2-1 victory against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu last night. Pep Guardiola’s side fought from a goal down to claim the club’s first-ever victory in the Spanish capital as goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne inspired an emphatic win.
Although credit must be given to Guardiola and his players following such an impressive performance, the victory did paint a rather bizarre picture for Kopites as City put themselves in a prime position to progress to the quarter-finals.
If the improbable were to happen and City were to, of course, claim a first Champions League triumph it would allow an alternate version of last season to transpire. Last season, Liverpool notoriously missed out on an elusive league title by a solitary point but softened the blow following the club’s sixth European Cup triumph in Madrid.
However, if City were to win Europe’s top-prize – and considering how open the competition is this season that is a huge possibility – then it would see the Champions League won by a team that missed out on the Premier League for a second consecutive season.
While Klopp and Guardiola at the start of the season would have likely have accepted this fate if it were presented to them in August, Liverpool supporters will be desperate for the aforementioned series of events not to transpire which will surely give the Reds players that extra boost for their second-leg clash against Atletico on Wednesday, March 11.
Liverpool’s unrivalled dominance coupled by Klopp’s infectious winning mentality has ensured that for the players at least, the Premier League on its own is no longer enough to match the club’s rich aspirations.