Liverpool – Top of the league off the field

Whilst every supporter is eagerly following the Red’s exciting assault on the long-awaiting league title; off the field, Liverpool are already top of the pile.

In the last week, both Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have both penned new long-term contracts. Of course, this follows on the back of a year that has seen additional deals sealed for Firmino, Salah, Mane and Gomez among others. It puts Liverpool as a shining beacon among the elite teams in Europe.

The security of Liverpool’s long-term future is in stark contrast to another team in red from London, Arsenal, who are amid dramatic staff turnover and star players running down contracts. It feels like Arsenal are in the position Liverpool were 10 years ago and therefore it is unsurprising their league performance is reflecting this.

Fenway Sports Group took a lot of criticism in their early tenure at the club, much of it being perfectly fair and justified. However, with a reported record level of pre-tax profit this year (£100 million) and the club revenue being at an all-time high, supporters are rightfully recognising the long-term stability of Liverpool is being secured by these owners. 

Indeed, one only has to observe the job that Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards does, in order to see just how much progress has been made. Edwards is rightfully hailed as the figure who sealed deals for Van Dijk, Keita and Fabinho; at the same time as getting large and unexpected sales over the line for Klopp’s fringe players, such as Jordan Ibe and Dominic Solanke.

There is a current social media fad doing the rounds about the ‘10-year challenge’. Let’s just take a look at Liverpool in that context. Of course, the Reds were also top of the league under Rafa Benitez in 2009, but unfortunately went on to come a close 2ndto Manchester United. Sadly though, this was as close as Benitez would ever get to a league challenge at Liverpool, going on to leave the club the next season following a 7th place finish.

Back then however, Liverpool could only have dreamed of having the current background structure in place. Let’s remember that the club was being financially tanked, primarily as a result of Hicks and Gillett, with their poisonous reign being played out in the full glare of the world’s press. 

Their release of transfer funds was more reminiscent of the current situation at Newcastle United. Sales of Xabi Alonso and Mascherano signaled Liverpool’s departure from the elite and crystalised mismanagement from top to bottom. This was on top of the failure to deliver a new stadium, as promised when the owners took control.

This wasn’t even the worst to come, with the realisation that the American owners had leveraged the club with levels of debt that threatened the very existence of Liverpool FC. It’s hard to forget that all this drama was taking place parallel to a disastrous appointment of Roy Hodgson and a summer of failure in the transfer market.

Stepping away from these dark times, the picture at Liverpool couldn’t be different. Anfield has been redeveloped with the new main stand and a consultation is still being considered around the future of the Anfield Road end. The last remaining step of course on this journey is to deliver the holy grail, with every supporter hoping this year is our year under Jurgen Klopp.

Chris Leebody

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisLeebody