When Liverpool fans learned seven of the club’s players were amongst the 30 finalists for this year’s Ballon d’Or, the first reaction was probably one of disbelief—going back even a couple of seasons, it would have been hard to imagine.
The second reaction, though, was probably to wonder who had missed out. If seven Reds had made it, which arguably worthy player off of last season’s Champions League winning squad hadn’t? At least, that was Jürgen Klopp’s reaction.
“I heard we had seven nominees and my first question was, ‘who is not nominated?’” Klopp laughed. “It is nice. I do not understand much about these things to be honest. I know if you win it is big and if you don’t it doesn’t hurt too much.
“It is a very good sign, and after last season and how we played it is normal that a lot of players have to be nominated. Yes, it is important. Our seven players are all deserved. If it is a sign that we are a destination, I do not know. We will see.”
With Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum and Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all nominated, the most worthy missing Red on the day was probably Andy Robertson.
Still, seven nominees from 30 is a lot. Especially when you look back at where this club has been in recent seasons. Seven is a sign of just how much Liverpool’s stock has risen; it’s a sign of a club climbed back on its European perch.
If there are seven now; if maybe Liverpool are something of a destination club once again, the natural question is what comes next? Klopp says he’s not too worried about that—he just wants to keep working with this group of players.
“It looks like we are comfortable with each other,” he noted. “We want to work together for the next couple of years or more. I am proud of the boys, 100%. I am happy when they win things because of the football we played.”