There were more than a few eyebrows raised when Liverpool made it clear there would be no major signings over the summer, no expensive new stars arriving as they sought to push on from a 97-point, second place finish and sixth European Cup.
Liverpool, the thinking went, were good. Maybe even great. But to topple Manchester City they would need to be even better, and the only way to get there was to sign players. Or so the thinking went. And as it turns out, that thinking was wrong.
“We’re a team that have been together for a long time and getting better each season, taking it up a level each season,” said goalkeeper Alisson on the value of consistency for a side now sat 14 points clear in the league with a game in hand.
“I think the difference from last season, which was already a victorious season, is consistency. Defensive and offensive consistency, and mentality. Our team have a winning mindset. We always think about the next game, we don’t look too far ahead.”
When Liverpool headed to their first Champions League final under Jürgen Klopp, it was easy to discount consistency and experience as a factor—right up until Real Madrid’s consistency and experience trumped Liverpool’s eager naivety.
Then, the next season, a largely unchanged Liverpool side took their own lessons and experience and turned it into a Champions League final victory while coming close in the league. Now, in the league, they’re doing the very same thing.
Last season’s Liverpool side was great. This season’s is, if nothing else, more effective. More determined. Less easily rattled—and last season’s side was already one that Jürgen Klopp could rightly refer to as a group of mentality monsters.
“We focus upon what is within reach at the time and we do everything possible to make sure we leave the pitch with a win,” Alisson added matter-of-factly. “This has contributed to the great results this season.”