Liverpool FC have taken Man City route to success - so stop claiming moral high ground
They will win the Premier League and – regardless of some curious luck with both VAR decisions and injuries – they deserve it.
They have been the best team in the country, probably in the world, and Manchester City’s slight slackening this season has accentuated their dominance.
But spare us the kind of holy nonsense which Jamie Carragher came up with when he hailed Jurgen Klopp’s team this week.
“Liverpool are not buying superstars, they are making them,” was the former Anfield defender’s judgment after they extended their unbeaten league run to 21 games this week.
Heaven forbid that anyone should suggest that Liverpool’s run of success has been sullied by the application of large amounts of cash in the way that City’s was, eh?
Carragher’s reasoning was that Klopp has brought in players who he has then improved into world-class stars.
“Robertson came from Hull, Wijnaldum was relegated with Newcastle, Salah had been at Chelsea, Mane had been in the Premier League… they are not just going to the best clubs in the world and buying the best players,” said Carragher.
So exactly who IS going to the best clubs and buying the best players? It doesn’t happen.
City’s best players include bargains from Wolfsburg, Valencia, Monaco, Schalke and Athletic Bilbao, all of whom have been improved by Pep Guardiola. None from Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
Carragher’s claim also conveniently overlooks the fact that Salah, Mane and Wijnaldum cost around £93million combined, way beyond the reach of all but a handful of English clubs.
And it ignores completely the fact that Liverpool broke the world record transfer spend in 2018, just months after Klopp had taken the moral high ground and declared he would walk away from football if he ever felt the need to throw cash at his problems.
Asked about his massive U-turn, the German beamed one of those pearly smiles and declared he had changed his mind, conveniently enough.
Not that there is anything wrong with spending big in order to compete. Money has always talked in football, and the financial power wielded by Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in the Nineties and Noughties has only recently been challenged by the new-found wealth of City and Chelsea.
And boy, do they not like it. All kinds of snooty pronouncements about “oil money” and “earned through excellence” have been bandied around to ensure that the traditional elite can retain their sense of moral superiority, even as they lost their sporting dominance.
Liverpool splashing out £75million for Virgil Van Dijk was excellent business, a move that City might now regret not making when they had the chance.
Trying to dress it up as some wholesome act, nothing to do with filthy lucre, is dishonest.
Full credit to Klopp – he and his staff have honed Van Dijk, Mane, Salah, Wijnaldum and the rest, improving them individually and shaping them into a magnificent, well-rounded squad.
But Pep Guardiola has done the same with City.
Can anyone seriously doubt that Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and the rest have not been hugely improved by his coaching, and have subsequently increased in market value as well as being forged into a world-class squad and team?
And yet City rarely get the kind of credit which Carragher showered on Liverpool, without dull mentions of oil money being made.
The two best clubs in the country have spent big and spent well, have been managed brilliantly and coached marvellously. Stop pretending one has done it within the bounds of the Corinthian spirit, and the other has simply thrown money at it.