What a few years back started as a perennial claim from optimistic Reds fans, has been turned on its head by rival supporters – from across the Stanley Park, down the M62; indeed from Premier League followers everywhere – into a familiar, sarcastic jibe.
One day though, it will be Liverpool’s year and at the avoidance of more sardonic ridicule, 2019 has a ring to it.
Will May 2019 see Number 19, that virgin Premier League title to accompany the eighteen championships that came during a bygone, pre-SKY era?
Liverpool fans though can file a body of compelling evidence to support their case. Champions League Finalists can’t be written off. A team that decorated the continent with relentless attacking football with a glut of goals has been bolstered in key areas. The dynamic box-to-box Naby Keita is finally here, Fabinho adds incongruous Brazilian solidity in the middle and Alisson Becker is a Godsend after two seasons of rotational chaos and ineptitude in goal.
This Liverpool team however, and its new recruits, springs from a solid domestic footing; consecutive fourth placed finishes of 76 and 75 points which, respectively, saw a flirtation with a pre-Christmas title challenge to Chelsea, then a further increase in goals scored (84 last season) and goal difference (+46) which has seen vintage Reds teams to silverware.
As supporters we hope, perhaps more than we trust, that Manchester City’s 100 points is an anomaly. Instead, we prefer to remember a Kop that rocked to riotous assaults on City’s goal during Domestic and European Anfield slayings, leaving a nasty bruise on an otherwise unstained Manchester psyche. Further confidence is drawn from a second-half Champions League smash and grab which gave those vacating a soulless, emptying Etihad food for thought while a Scouse invasion partied.
If Red buoyancy is largely founded on the run to Kiev, there’s a different vibe among the fan base. The European adventure saw the return of younger faces, those willing and eager to travel to far flung places and the rediscovery of vibrant Liverpool away ends at home and abroad. An eternally strong Liverpool youth culture finally resurfaced at the match, drawn back by the love for Jurgen Klopp.
The creation of new heroes helps and the coronation of Mohamed Salah as a worthy successor to the vacant crown once worn by Luis Suarez filled a huge emotional void. Whether the Egyptian King can replicate his prolific debut season is to wonder if Liverpool really do have the armoury to mount a serious challenge. Matching or bettering 32 his league goals will be a tough ask.
One concern is whether Klopp has left us one short again up front. Liverpool will inevitably deploy a rampaging front three. If it aint broke don’t fix it. Devotees will point to the rogue signing Xherdan Shaqiri in supplementing the attack or pin hopes on a seemingly rejuvenated Daniel Sturridge to offer Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane the occasional breather.
However, trusting to luck (with injuries) over a long hard season on two major fronts smacks of Klopp’s beguiling devil-may-care attitude more than it does a belt and braces approach to delivering that yearned-for Holy Grail.
That is why Liverpool remain, albeit worthy, second favourites to City. But, as we watch from the stands we’ll pray once more it’s going be our year; the odds surmounted by the Klopp factor, a re-energised Kop and a gang of fresh heroes for a new Liverpool generation.
*Odds are subject to change.