It’s not so long ago Liverpool were on the fringes, no longer legitimate contenders for top silverware. They had become an occasional Europa League side, the sort of side a club like Everton aspires to be and that Tottenham used to be.
Even at the start of last season, where they are today seemed a very, very long way off. Yet here they are. Top of the table with seven to play, even if Manchester City have a game in hand, and again in the quarter finals of the Champions League.
“The position we’re in in the league, you can’t beat first,” said Kenny Dalglish, reflecting on watching Liverpool’s recent return to the top. “Quarter-finals of the Champions League, you can’t go much further than that. I think the boys can be hugely proud.
“They’re where they are because they deserve to be. They’ve got there on merit, they’re not there because somebody else has tripped over or anything: they’ve done what they need to do and they’ve done it brilliantly.”
That, more than anything else, is worth highlighting: Liverpool aren’t where they are because others have stumbled. Most years, they would have all but wrapped up the league title already rather than being in a tight fight with City.
In Europe, too, it’s their second year running making it at least to the quarter finals after last year’s finals appearance, and they’ve done it by handily beating Bayern Munich, 538’s fourth-ranked club in Europe in the Round of 16.
It may be only natural many fans are nervous or apprehensive—after all, it’s been a long time since Liverpool looked like they deserved, truly deserved, to be at the top in the league and Europe—but however things end up, they deserve to be there now.
“There’s no point in being apprehensive in any way, shape or form,” Dalglish added. “There’s no point in being complacent. Just be normal, just do what you’ve done. You are where you are because you deserve to be there.
“What you’ve done before this stage must have been right. Nobody needs reassurance about their ability to play or their ability to win games—they’ve shown it. And you’re not getting carried away [saying that], it’s just common sense.”