The streets of Liverpool were filled with fireworks as hundreds of fans cheered on their team after breaking the 30-year title drought. Even though fans were warned about celebrating due to the coronavirus, they gathered outside the team’s stadium and celebrated the moment with car horns, firecrackers, smoke bombs, and flares as echoes summoned even more people from their homes.
Liverpool F.C. clinched its first title in 30 years on June 25 after they beat Crystal Palace 4-0 and Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1. Before the resumption of the Premier League, Liverpool was 20 points ahead of the second-place Manchester City and it seemed plausible for the Manchester team to climb and overtake the throne if they had won consecutive games. With wins against Arsenal and Burnley, it looked like they were on the right track but a loss against Chelsea ultimately cost them a championship, making Liverpool the champion of England.
Despite losing to Manchester City 4-0 on July 2, Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-0 to help them on their quest of clinching the title. The victory maintained their perfect home record in the Premier League this season with 17 wins. They are now on top of the table, with 89 points, and will go onto the Champions League.
Manager Makes a Difference
One factor that made this team so great and win a title is the manager, Jurgen Klopp.
After becoming the manager in 2015, he noticed that the fans left the Anfield stadium even before the full-time whistle. To avoid that, he would walk his players across the field after every game — win, lose or draw — toward the Kop and thank the fans. Fan and player interaction allowed the team to grow, and made fans more loyal.
Klopp was also the one to sign Mohamed Salah, who is one of the top players in the Premier League today. He worked with the goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg, to acquire Alisson Becker, a Brazilian goalkeeper, as well, who has made a big impact.
He also empowered his players to think for themselves when playing. Klopp turned doubters into believers. In five years, he took his team to two Champions League Finals, one Champions League title, and a Premier League title.
The football club experienced downfalls that almost eradicated the team before the arrival of Klopp and all the glory. The only achievement that they accomplished was a Champions League title in 2005, where they came back from 3-0 to beat Milan on penalties. It is argued that this is the best Champions League Finals in history, however, the club soon after lost its identity and deviated to catastrophe.
At one point, Liverpool had two managers at once and struggled to appoint proper officials for the team. While other clubs like Manchester United were opening superstores in their stadium and building an international brand, Liverpool did not take any action and was outdated. The club was then financially unstable, unable to attract new players nor retain players.
Then John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group saved Liverpool from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed it as a business and sport entity. Henry believed that they could break the curse for Liverpool, just like how they ended it for the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
Fenway Sports Group navigated the transfer market and allowed the club to maintain a $350 million wage bill. They also applied a data-driven approach for Liverpool. Data is responsible for almost every decision the club makes, from recruitment to nutrition, and drove the club to arguably be the most effective user of data in soccer.
This will not be the last time Liverpool tastes success. The football club will make wiser decisions, continue to be the most effective user of data, and interact with fans to be the best team in the Premier League. Liverpool will be the champion of England many more times.