This Liverpool side have won. They’ve won a lot. They’ve won almost everything they could. They’ve won the Premier League and Champions League and the Club World Cup and the Super Cup. This side have won 196 points over the past two seasons.
The question, now, is what comes next. And for some, the fear is what comes next. What comes next for a side that’s won everything these past two seasons—and how do they stay motivated? According to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the answer is easy.
“As a team, it doesn’t feel like we did it,” he said when asked how the players feel about being 2019-20 Premier League champions. “We know we did it, we know we are in the history books and we have our medals to remind us, but no one is talking about it.”
“No one is giving off the impression that we are champions, and that’s how it should be. It was amazing, but it’s done now. Why did we achieve what we did? Because we didn’t lose our focus. It was always about ‘what’s next?’ And that’s how it is now.”
Act like you haven’t won it is certainly one way to try to follow up a title-winning season. Act like you’ve still got something to prove. And in a way, perhaps, this side still does given last year’s celebrations came in an empty stadium in the midst of a pandemic.
What this group did last year was incredible, but they didn’t get to finish it the way it started and the way it should have—in a raucous, deafening Anfield filled with supporters. There’s also the fact that for a player like Oxlade-Chamberain, his role was limited.
Liverpool may have won, but he feels as though he personally could have done more. Others, players like Naby Keïta and Xherdan Shaqiri and Joël Matip, will undoubtedly be feeling similar, and Oxlade-Chamberain believes that too can help this side.
“I felt that for the most part of last season,” he added. “When I look back on the season, as amazing as it was, there were a lot of times when I wasn’t happy with how I’d played, personally. That’s me being honest with myself, which I think you have to be.
“I know I can do better, and I don’t think I was the only one who thought that.”