Part 3: Lingering Regrets
As great a season as Liverpool had in 2021-22, and as much as we’ll mostly walk away remembering the good moments, it’s hard to come as close to a historic quadruple as this group did and to not end up with a few lingering regrets—those moments we’ll keep looking back on and asking ourselves what if it had gone differently?
Looking back, my biggest regret isn’t some random draw and dropped points against a Brighton or Brentford. It’s not beating Tottenham at least once. Or, I guess more specifically, allowing Tottenham to score three goals against us in the league this season. I’m sure it’s easier for a dumbass like myself to sit here and say that one moment or two games defines a season—and I know City didn’t beat Tottenham this season, either—but with their setup and how good Liverpool actually were against low blocks this season, I really regret both games.
Not scoring a goal in any of the three finals Liverpool played in is big the regret for me. It wasn’t because Liverpool didn’t play well in any of those games, either. In fact, they had an xG of over six across their three finals matches. For a team that often scored goals by the bucketload, it stings a little to play well but somehow manage not to find the back of the net in any of those matches.
For a team that finds such joy in attacking play and scoring goals, I’m gonna agree with Gabe and say that not scoring in three finals sits awkwardly with me. Looking back, not getting even one goal in three of the biggest games of the year makes it feel a little like the ruthlessness of past seasons was lost—those times when we got used to grinding out results, when it felt like we would always find the goal we needed sooner or later.
At the risk of sounding like Michael Owen, you have to score goals to win games. I think there’s also something about not being able to find a way to get a win over Manchester City. That’s less a criticism than a regret, though, as with both league games ending 2-2 those matches could have been tipping points in our season—the moment when, if things had gone differently, we could have overtaken them and regained control of our destiny.
Playing Chelsea four times in all competitions and not being able to beat them at least once despite playing better than them for the most part on all four occasions seems pretty crazy. Looking back, I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. Both league draws seemed to be very winnable but ended up in draws. A Fabinho tap-in at the end of the first meeting at Anfield in August could have made all the difference.
I was on a plane for the Tottenham match. I wasn’t expecting a Saturday evening kickoff and thought I would be safe. It was the only game of the season I missed. So. I wouldn’t mind having that one over again. I’d definitely book a different flight. It probably wouldn’t help, me being able to watch it, but then it couldn’t have hurt, yeah?
More seriously, I could do with the late December stretch being replaced by a two week covid breaker. You remember it now, that part of the season when Burnley racked up like five games in hand and we ended up dropping points with a cobbled-together squad and it felt like nobody was quite on a level playing field. We still managed to reel in City and end the year a point off them, but if things hadn’t been quite such a mess back around the turn of the year maybe we would have had less ground to make up.
I’d give up a kidney to reverse that Champions League final scoreline.
The Champions League final is obviously still fresh on everyone’s minds so I’ll add to Zach’s comment and say I really wish we’d scored in the first 20 minutes when we were the better side and getting chances.
I can only agree with Zach and Ritika. It’s the Champions League final. We fell short of winning the league but I didn’t really feel like we left anything on the table there. Sure, maybe we could have gotten a win against Chelsea or Tottenham, but Chelsea in particular showed in the two finals against us just how stingy they can be. It’s annoying we couldn’t get another win somewhere, but I just have a hard time looking back at the league season with much regret.
The Champions League final, though. That hurts. I have no doubt we were good enough to win that game. I have no doubt that as it played out Liverpool win a match like that eight or nine times out of ten. It’s no easy thing to get to a European final, and because of that the result is going to feel like a huge missed opportunity for me for a very long time.