It’s rather sweet watching Liverpool trying to celebrate finishing second in the Premier League.
I suspect, and I think they do too, at least deep down, they’ve just missed the best chance they’ll get to win the title in the Manchester City era.
City were ripe for the taking this season. Kevin De Bruyne, their best player, missed most of the campaign, as did their outstanding defensive shield, and one-man fouling machine, Fernandinho.
Leroy Sane sulked through most of the season, big summer signing Riyad Mahrez flopped, centre-back John Stones’ form nosedived and City have a left-back problem as big as Peterborough United’s, relatively speaking of course.
City were also 10 points behind Liverpool at one point in the season. It’s quite an achievement to retain the title given all those problems, but it also represents a golden opportunity missed by Liverpool who are unlikely to ever again go through a season losing just one game, especially with VAR in place to help moderate Mo Salah’s penalty box behaviour.
City will strengthen for sure in the summer. The outstanding Bernardo Silva will be even better next season. De Bruyne will be back and Sane will have been shipped out if he hasn’t bothered to shape up.
Liverpool must do the same. There’s no way they can go into another season with Champions League hero Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge as back-up strikers. They are only ever a couple of injuries away from becoming ordinary.
Liverpool’s 97 points to finish second is of course remarkable, but it’s also a comment on the standard of the rest of the Premier League compared to the big two.
Spurs’ presence in the Champions League Final and an all-English Europa League Final disguises the real all-round strength of our top flight.
Indeed as much as I enjoy watching Spurs under their outstanding manager, I hope Liverpool beat them comfortably in May, and not just because Reds boss Jurgen Klopp deserves a trophy.
If Spurs win, and they are capable in a one-off game against a Liverpool team who have already lost four Champions League away games this season, chairman Daniel Levy might see it as justification of his miserly ways.
If that happens Spurs won’t get anywhere near the title, especially if a cure isn’t found for Harry Kane’s brittle bones.
In fact there are no challengers on the horizen. Chelsea without Eden Hazard and with Gonzalo Higuain have no chance of competing, while Manchester United’s board should be furious with their lack of due diligence before handing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the manager’s job at Old Trafford. United’s best win at Paris St Germain was down to good fortune as much as good management.
If there is to be a breakthrough team next season it will probably be Leicester if they can find a support striker for Jamie Vardy.