Liverpool 2019/2020 season report card: A
Forget the fact that we finally worn the darn league after 30 years. The way in which we have done so is just as incredulous as the Workers’ Party winning Seng Kang GRC.
Winning the league with such pomp has been downright ridiculous. I guess that’s quite apt, given how this entire 2020 has been ridiculous thanks to COVID-19.
WATCH: Joel Matip reflects on Liverpool's title-winning season
So, it is without any hesitation that I give Liverpool top marks for their overall performance this season.
I mean, what other grade could a team of such calibre get, right?
Now, let’s move on to the individual awards.
Player of the Season: Virgil van Dijk
Donald Trump wanted to build a wall that would cost billions. We simply bought a wall from Southampton. And it only cost £75 million (S$133m).
I used to think that Sami Hyypia was the best defender in Liverpool’s history. That was until Van Dijk came along. The composure that the Dutchman displays under pressure is unreal. Don’t get me wrong. Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have been phenomenal this season, but they just weren’t as consistent as VVD.
Just look at this piece of defending against Brighton. It was svelte. It was nonchalant. It was thug life at its finest.
Goal of the Season: Fabinho vs Man City
Everyone loves a belter of a goal, and I don’t think there’s another goal this season that was as important and emphatic as Fabinho’s scorcher against the defending champions. Just listen to the net rattle. Do you know what it sounds like? It sounds like £150 million in title-winning prize money getting deposited into our coffers. Kaching!
Assist of the Season – Roberto Firmino
There are good assists. There are fantastic assists. And then there are these kinds of otherworldly assists that leave you spellbound and wondering if you’re hallucinating after having one too many beers during the match. It took me five minutes to find my jaw after Firmino set up Mo Salah for this goal. What an assist. What a player. If only he scored more goals.
Most Improved Player of the Season: Joe Gomez
While Joel Matip offers a slightly more imposing presence on the field, Joe Gomez makes up for the lack of that with composure, pace and versatility – he can play at fullback as well. Since joining Liverpool five years ago, Gomez has upped his game significantly to become a key part of the team’s defence, and the England international has really come into his own this season. His performances in the Club World Cup match against Flamengo and the 0-0 Merseyside derby were particularly worthy of praise.
Honorary Award: Adam Lallana
A persistent hamstring injury during the second half of his Liverpool career meant that this sublime midfielder never got to reach the heights of success he seemed destined for. A true fighter on the pitch and unplayable at his best, the former England international is among the handful of players I hate to see leave.
He might have scored only one goal this season, but it was certainly one worth remembering – his equaliser against our arch-rivals Manchester United meant that Liverpool’s outstanding unbeaten record remained intact.
Well, that was until….
Shock of the season: Watford 3 Liverpool 0
We Liverpool fans all had that sinking feeling that a defeat was on the cards at some point in time, but I don’t think anyone expected the first loss of the season to come in such a fashion. It seemed as if the players were desperate to revisit the dark ages of Roy Hodgson’s reign after getting bored with their winning streak. What a travesty.
The road ahead
I know many Liverpool fans are concerned about the lack of transfer activity at the moment, but I trust that Jurgen Klopp knows exactly what he’s doing. I, too, was cursing at how the club’s signings at the start of the 2019/2020 season were limited to two youngsters (Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliot) and two goalies (Adrian and Andy Lonergan). There was also little to cheer about during the January transfer window when we signed Takumi Minamino.
WATCH: Klopp says he's pleased with Minamino's contributions so far
But let’s put things into perspective – we won the league with SEVEN games to spare WITHOUT big signings. This is how good the current team is.
Also, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Rafa Benitez era, it is that over-tinkering with the squad doesn’t pay off. So, let’s be happy that Klopp isn’t trying to fix something that clearly isn’t broken.
Sure, making a marquee signing would give fans something to cheer about, but Klopp’s preferred approach of blooding the youngsters is far more sustainable in the long run. Compared to a few seasons ago, the current youngsters who are contending for a first team place have some serious quality.
Curtis Jones looks set to be an able replacement for the outgoing Adam Lallana. Harvey Elliott could very well be our next Raheem Sterling. Rhian Brewster has been absolutely sensational for Swansea.
On the other hand, fringe players like Takumi Minamino and Naby Keita are still diamonds in the rough and could come through next season as gamechangers.
The possible signing of Thiago Alcantara would be music to my ears. I reckon he’s the next Xabi Alonso, and I certainly wouldn’t mind having a player of such quality in midfield. In terms of defence, a backup for the tireless Andrew Robertson would make sense. An additional forward might also be necessary, as evidenced by how we sometimes struggle to score whenever Salah or Mane aren’t playing.
But that’s pretty much all we really need to mount a title defence. We don’t need a raft of new additions. Getting new players to gel with the current title-winning squad would take time anyway.
I mean, why add more coconut milk to the laksa if it’s already perfect? No. Just leave it.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about adding hum, or a marquee signing that would only improve the squad.
The one player I would really love to see in a Liverpool jersey Lionel Messi.
WATCH: Messi and Ronaldinho's best skills at Barcelona
I know, I know, I should just dream on. And I will.
I mean, what else do you think we Liverpool fans have been doing for the past 30 years?