Liverpool on record breaking pace
After watching Liverpool add another sweeping brush stroke to their masterpiece of a season, even manager Juergen Klopp had to concede on Saturday that he had never seen anything like the relentless, consistent excellence of his record breakers.
The 4-0 win over a Southampton side who had made life hard for the Reds until being swamped in the second half, saw Klopp’s European champions pass yet more milestones in what increasingly promises to be one of English football’s landmark campaigns.
After agreeing that Liverpool’s 22-point lead in the Premier League – the biggest at the end of a day in the history of England’s top-flight – was ‘astonishing’, Klopp was also asked by reporters if he had seen such consistency from any team.
“I have never seen it, to be honest,” he conceded. “If I was asking from the outside, I would ask the same questions.
“It’s not that I feel stronger and stronger and stronger after each win, it’s not like this. It is just one great celebration, then it’s relief, settle and go again.
“We are not perfect, not even close to being perfect; we just try to make the best of our skills in the best possible way.
“The boys have done that now for a while pretty good and that’s why we have these kind of numbers – but it doesn’t feel a second like it’s really special. It just feels the hardest work.”
It is really special, though. The numbers tell of a team in uncharted territory.
Liverpool’s 73 points from their first unbeaten 25 matches – 24 wins and a draw – is the greatest tally of any team at this stage of the season in the history of Europe’s top five leagues.
They are on course to emulate Arsenal’s 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ by going a whole season unbeaten and Saturday’s 20th successive league win at Anfield meant they equalled Manchester City’s record in the Premier League era.
Bill Shankly’s 1972 Liverpool side, the all-time record holders with 21 straight home wins, could be the next to be eclipsed as Klopp’s side look, uniquely, to win every one of their 19 Anfield matches this season. Their run stands at 13.
Manchester City’s 2017-18 record winning tally of 100 points seemed incredible. Yet Liverpool could glean 112 by winning their remaining matches, after having dropped just two points all season so far at Manchester United in October.
Their overall unbeaten league streak stretches back for a year over 42 matches and, depending on FA Cup commitments, they could conceivably equal Arsenal’s 49-match landmark of 2004 at Manchester City on April 4.
Wouldn’t victory at the Etihad feel like the ultimate statement? It could even see Liverpool then power on to top the record 19-point championship-winning margin that City themselves had enjoyed over neighbours United in 2018.
Of course, Liverpool’s Champions League defence could see Klopp’s side take their eye off the record books should the title be wrapped up quickly and, anyway, the German does not sound remotely fussed about these statistical Everests.
“I know about it. Again, I have no clue how it should feel, but it is not that I think we are close to something really special,” he said with a shrug.
“The boys have now a week off, and then we go again. That’s the only thing I know. All the rest, we have to see.”
It should be fun watching. (Reuters)