Liverpool lost heavily to Watford on Saturday but their defeat looks quite fortunate when compared to Manchester City and Barcelona.
City and Barcelona can claim to be the two most consistent teams of the last few years – a position Liverpool now hold. City, for instance, were utterly dominant in the Premier League two years ago.
Barcelona have won La Liga in each of the last two seasons, too, nearly going unbeaten the year before last. Both teams have therefore been primary contenders for the Champions League.
But neither have won it.
That’s because while at their peak, both suffered embarrassing losses in the competition. Two years ago it was City, who while on top of the world, went to Anfield and were smashed 3-0.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Then Barcelona, top of La Liga and with a 3-0 lead, were also trounced at Anfield, this time 4-0.
Both were massive wake-up calls – but they came at the wrong time. Both teams had effectively wrapped up their league titles and had no way to bounce back. The defeats were season-enders with nothing to learn from.
Similarly, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich suffered a similar fate. In that first dominant season, Real Madrid smashed them 4-0, knocking them out of the Champions League and ending their season.
It looks fortunate, then, that Liverpool’s wake-up call has come in the Premier League. In terms of points, they didn’t really lose a thing, such is their lead.
But it allows them to regain focus for the Champions League – now their main target.
If this heavy defeat had come away at Atletico last week or even in next week’s second leg, it would have ended Liverpool’s season. Instead, they can learn and move forward. And in that way, they’ve got away with one.