In past seasons, Liverpool wouldn’t have been looking to hand multiple academy prospects their senior debuts in the League Cup. That they are tonight against MK Dons is, far from a show of a lack of ambition, a sign of just how far the club has come.
This season, the Premier League is a realistic goal. Defending their Champions League title is a realistic goal. Other silverware, rather than being the target along with a top four finish, is now something of an afterthought. Because the Reds are back on their perch.
“We are back on our perch,” chief executive Peter Moore said this week during an interview at the World Football Summit. “What the Fenway Sports Group have done at Liverpool over the past nine years is nothing short of miraculous.
”They have gone through ups and downs but have stayed the course. Football is a virtuous cycle. When you win games, sponsors want to be part of your story, so you take that money and buy better players. Then they win you more games.”
Get results, buy better players, get more money and use it to go out and buy more top players—or, as in the case over the past year, to lock down your existing talented stars to lucrative long-term contracts in order to keep them around and happy.
A big part of getting started on Moore’s virtuous cycle, though, is getting the right people in place. People who can over-deliver at the start, people who can spot undervalued talent or coach up the talent that’s already at the club.
Staying the course and re-investing in the club is one thing. But Liverpool wouldn’t be where they are now without Jürgen Klopp—something Moore and, one imagines, everyone else at Fenway Sports Group is quite thoroughly aware of.
“Jürgen is one of the more holistic human beings you will ever meet,” Moore added. ”He is able to keep the ship going straight, motivate not just the players but his staff, the coaching staff, the sports science staff—he keeps everyone on an even keel.
”His personality is infectious. His charisma is without question Even when you have lost he makes you think there is a brighter sunshine ahead.”