Can Liverpool win the Champions League?
Technically, anyone that’s in the competition can win it so the answer is obviously yes, they can, but will they?
I genuinely think so, I think that the way that Liverpool dismantled Porto in Portugal was professional, well thought out and tactically fantastic. It was as much a warning to the rest of the Champions League as it was an exhibition of the attacking talent that Liverpool has to offer.
However, I think that the level of defensive ability that Liverpool showed against Porto will be the difference going forward in all competitions, not just the Champions League. Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk are forming an actually strong defensive partnership in the heart of the Liverpool defence and that is something that we haven’t really been able to say about any of the defensive duos that we have had over the past decade or so.
We’ve had the likes of Martin Skrtel pass through our team, defensively solid as a single player but never the connection with his partner be it Daniel Agger or Jamie Carragher or anyone for that matter.
The last great centre-half partnership that we had was probably Carragher alongside Sami Hyypia, who really provided a stable heart to the Liverpool team that went on to win the 2005 Champions League.
I genuinely don’t think that it’s completely out of the realms of possibility that Liverpool go on to win the entire thing this year. Granted, it would be insanely difficult to achieve, and it would require the Reds to defeat some of the best footballing outfits that we have ever seen but it can be done. Jurgen Klopp has been at these stages before and has managed to get past teams like Real Madrid in the competition before.
This coupled with Liverpool’s seemingly endless love affair with the European Cup, could result in something very special on Merseyside. With Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino already responsible for a combined 70 goals this season (goals and assists), plus with Sadio Mane actually smiling and looking back to his best in the rout in Portugal, there isn’t a defence in Europe, nor the world that would look forward to playing against Liverpool. If we can continue to sure ourselves up at the back, then we will start to look like one of the best teams in Europe.
No doubt commentators and the rest of the media will reinforce the narrative that our defence has never really been good enough to challenge for titles but we as Liverpool fans see improvements, whether they be small or huge we are noticing these things. Andy Robertson has been a fantastic buy and looks genuinely solid at left-back, and I hope that the Scot retains his position over Alberto Moreno when he’s back because I think his performances more than merit it.
James Milner was also class against Porto and I don’t think he’s necessarily been given the credit that he deserves over the past couple of seasons. From playing left-back for the majority of last season because of the utter lack of faith in Alberto Moreno to filling in wherever he is needed this season. His role is often changing and evolving as the team is molded into a fully functional unit from back to front.
The one criticism I have with the team is the lack of a solid spine, but that could be about to change. We have Virgil van Dijk at the back now, which is an amazing starting point and there’s Roberto Firmino up top who has been class all season. We’re just missing the midfielder. As good as Jordan Henderson is, he’s not the Xabi Alonso or Javier Mascherano-type player that we are desperate for. Naby Keita will be that.
There are some weird similarities to other times that Liverpool have won the European Cup as well. Both times that Liverpool have won IN Portugal they have gone on to win the competition. In 1981 and 2005 there was a new Doctor in the Doctor Who television program and there was a royal wedding in both years too. Both of those things are also true about this year.
I know I’m clutching at straws but I honestly feel like it’s meant to be. After the heartbreak of the Europa League final two seasons ago and Jurgen Klopp’s inability to beat Bayern in the final when it was held at Wembley, the lack of trophies at Anfield since Klopp’s arrival, I feel like it would just be perfect if we could go the whole way and win the lot in Kiev.
I’m just an overly optimistic Liverpool fan, my thoughts probably come across as delusion but in my heart and in the hearts of so many Liverpool fans, we can go all the way. There’s no point in being in a competition if you don’t intend to see your team go all the way to the final and beyond. And with the win against Porto and our historic ability to beat big teams, I think the whole of the Champions League should believe that we can go all the way too.