This is Liverpool’s greatest team of all time – even if the quadruple is beyond them

ROBBIE FOWLER COLUMN: You don’t do something no other English team has ever done in football history, without being the best. This Liverpool team is the greatest

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowKlopp reviews Liverpool’s FA Cup final winopinionByRobbie Fowler

  • 10:27, 15 May 2022
  • Updated10:31, 15 May 2022
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Look, it doesn’t matter now how the next week goes for Liverpool, another magnificent trophy triumph means this has been nothing short of a miraculous season.

Beating Chelsea in the FA Cup in the middle of such an exhausting, intensive run of fixtures, says so much about their immense character, their incredible appetite and their indomitable spirit.

It confirms to me that not only have they proved beyond doubt the stated aim of building a squad to compete at the highest level on every front has been achieved, but also they are amongst the greatest Liverpool team of all time.

In fact, I’ve already gone further by suggesting this IS the greatest. Even if a quadruple is beyond them. You don’t do something no other English team has ever done in football history, without being the best.

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And we can’t ever forget that. There’s a reason why no other team played every game in the four biggest competitions, right to the end of the season. Because it’s so bloody difficult. And only the BEST can do that.

No matter what happens in the next fortnight now, nothing changes that. If City win the title as I expect, then fair play to them – they’re one of the greatest teams of all time. And without doubt the best in their club’s history too.

If Real Madrid win the Champions League final, there’s no shame in that. It’s their competition after all! We are talking about all-time great teams here, and I’d include Chelsea in those ranks too, for what they’ve achieved under Thomas Tuchel.

You know there’s a but coming right? Yep. But time stands still for no team. On May 29, the day after the Champions League final, it all starts again for Klopp and his Liverpool team.

They have to keep moving forward. These days, with the quality the very top clubs bring in, if you don’t sign players, you’re not just standing still, you’re going backwards.

Manchester City have already signed Erling Haaland for next season. I can guarantee you they will sign more. So will Chelsea now they’ve got new owners. So will Real Madrid, so will PSG, Barca, Bayern and the rest.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson lifts the FA Cup trophy at Wembley

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if it’s two more trophies this season, one or zero…my former club will have to sign more players. But it’s not simply the process of spending money, it’s also how they go about it.

Look, Liverpool aren’t City. They can’t spend whatever it is they’ve invested on Haaland (and I’ve heard the figure of £300m+ in total), to improve a team that will probably finish with 95 points. To improve a strike force that has already scored 145 goals this season.

I don’t for one second buy into this idea that City need a goalscorer by the way, and I don’t believe that’s why they bought Haaland…I don’t think he necessarily improves them right now – how can you improve on an average of 92 points per season for the past five years, and four titles in that time?

I actually think it proves my point – squad building is a constantly evolving process, and he’s part of that. A young player who will keep them strong in two, three, four or however many years, not now.

The question is, how do Liverpool evolve in the same way? For me, there are three areas they will look at during the summer, and beyond, to keep pace with City, and maintain this incredible squad.

One is a simple thing: they’ve blown a few silly points this season. It happens, but it happened a tiny bit too much: Brighton at home when leading, Brentford away, Spurs away, too casual, too stupid. So there’s that, but that’s nit-picking, it doesn’t detract from what they have achieved.

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Second is continuing to do what they’ve done so successfully in recruitment and development. As I say, they can’t compete with City, so they HAVE to use their strengths, and continue to find talent like Salah, Mane, Jota and Diaz at relatively reasonable prices.

The third is the biggest though. If they want to continue at this level for the four years of Klopp’s new contract, then I suspect they will have to find a way to keep Salah and Mane.

The biggest, dominant clubs don’t lose their best players, they get rid when they know the time is right. Have Liverpool reached that stage with those two? I very much doubt it.

My feeling is that Klopp only agreed to sign a new contract after chatting about getting backing. Over signings, yes, but over keeping his best squad together. I heard him say before the Cup final, he doesn’t care who his rivals sign, so long as they don’t sign HIS players. Believe me, that is significant.

I’m not advocating them spending money they will not be able to sustain. They have to do a calculation, and if it means them being financially unstable, then it’s not worth it.

But you can’t lose players who make SUCH a huge impact on a team without harming that team. Not in one summer. There is no one at Liverpool right now who could reproduce the goal involvement numbers of Salah.

Kostas Tsimikas scored the deciding penalty for Liverpool
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Image:
Getty Images)

Hell, there is literally no one in the Premier League who could do it over the past five years. Sometimes you have to take a step back with that, and build again in a different way. Think letting Coutinho go, and bringing in van Dijk.

All clubs must deal with their best players coming to the end, but as I say it should be an evolving process – not a brutal one.

For now though, they should savour what Salah and Mane have achieved. They are two of the biggest influences behind Liverpool’s miraculous season and it’s not over yet, after another trophy.

They have the momentum, they have the belief, and even if City have the upper hand, they will still believe a quadruple is possible, and if not, then the first-ever treble of the three biggest cups. That is some achievement.

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