Liverpool are now favourites to win the 2019 Champions League. It’s a very, very close run thing, of course, and the odds still say it’s more likely that someone other than Liverpool will take home the trophy. But of the four remaining sides, the Reds are likeliest.
That’s what the numbers say at 538—who also as of today have Liverpool in with a 48% chance of winning the Premier League—and a glance at what the four contenders have done domestically and in Europe this year would seem to support those numbers.
After a few difficult years on the continent, England are back up and have topped UEFA’s federation coefficient lists last season and this, ahead of a previously dominant La Liga—the numbers say that, the past two seasons, the Premier League has been Europe’s best.
And Liverpool sit on a stunning 85 points after 34 games, having earned 2.5 points per game. In Spain, Barcelona have 74 points after 32 games, good for 2.3 points per. It’s hardly scientific, but it serves of a quick check on what the numbers gurus are saying.
Which is that the two sides set to clash in the Champions League semi final are very close to level and that, if anything, Liverpool have a slight edge. It won’t be an easy game, and Barcelona advancing would be no upset, but Liverpool do not go in as underdogs.
Meanwhile, the other side of the bracket has a Tottenham side 18 points back of Liverpool in domestic play and the co-leaders—with 70 points after 30 games—of UEFA’s 11th ranked domestic league. Which isn’t to take any of the sides left in the competition lightly.
All have earned their way here. All have beaten top opponents. All, on their day, are capable of winning it. For Liverpool fans, though, it might be time to finally cast aside some of those lingering doubts and embrace the fact that this is a very, very good football team.
That it is, inarguably at this point, the best team the club have had in the Premier League era. That it is a side in with a coin flip chance to win the Premier League against a Man City squad many have talked up as the best team the entire league has ever seen.
Nothing is guaranteed. City are still very narrow favourites to win the league. The combined odds of one of the other Champions League semi finalists, collectively, winning is better than of Liverpool, singularly, winning. This season could in the end add up to nothing.
But this group of players, managed by one of the game’s great managers and given backing and resources no past Liverpool manager has had access to, deserve to be here. They deserve to be in with a real, honest to goodness chance at doing the double.
Even facing a Barcelona side with the game’s greatest ever player in the semi finals. Even up against the best, richest, deepest squad the Premier League has ever seen. Whatever happens next, hold your heads up high. Whatever happens next, enjoy the ride.