03 May 2014

So What if Liverpool Were just 7th Last Season?

All the recent talk in the English media when Liverpool’s charge up the table made it plain to all and sundry that they are in contention for the title has been around one statistic that says that no club in the Premiership era has ever having gone from seventh to champions within the course of a mere season.

I’m officially confused.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is, perhaps, himself to blame. When he was – wisely, methinks – playing down the Reds’ title chances this season, he had cited the club’s seventh place finish in the Premier League last season in the context of that obscure little statistic.

I can understand and fully appreciate the playing down of the Reds’ chances; as indeed, a triumphalist approach would only have heaped unnecessary pressure on the players heading into the season’s homestretch.


Whichever way this season ends will still mean a tremendous achievement for Liverpool FC, knowing as all fans do that to get into the Champions League was the original target; and anything else is icing on the cake.
What confuses me is how the English media has latched on to this seventh-to-champion inverse theory and what the intention is in doing so.

Fair enough, no club has won the English Premiership title from having been seventh the season before. However, the English Premiership only started as recently as Season 1992-93.

That is why, to put Liverpool’s sensational season in context and in an attempt to assess the club’s realistic chances of actually winning the league title on historical basis, most articles that I come across refer to Season 1984-85 of the old English League Division I.

This was when Everton, the Reds’ cross-city rivals, were crowned champions after having finished seventh the previous season, when Liverpool completed a rare hattrick of winning the league title in three consecutive seasons.

What remains unstated is that there has been a 29-year gap since. For Liverpool to win the title this season will be nothing short of sensational; but it will probably not happen because these occasions are flashes in the pan and not backed by history and statistics.

At least, that is how I understand what most football writers who are not affiliated with Liverpool are trying to say.

Personally, I prefer to look at things another way. Jumping from seventh to champions may not happen every year; but what Everton did in 1985 was to show that it could actually be done!

Not only that, there is one iota of information that has been conveniently left out by the English media – that there is, in fact, one club in the modern era that has actually won the league after having been as low as EIGHTH the previous season.

This club won promotion to Division I in Season 1961-62 and finished eighth the following year in its first season back in the top flight. In just one more season, the club were crowned England’s champions for the first time since Season 1946-47.

The name of the club? Liverpool FC.

And the manager? A Scot by the name of Bill Shankly.

Whichever way this season ends will still mean a tremendous achievement for Liverpool FC, knowing as all fans do that to get into the Champions League was the original target; and anything else is icing on the cake.

But boy; the title will really be awesome!

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