Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has admitted he didn’t think Liverpool would win the Premier League title – even after Jurgen Klopp took charge.
Klopp’s side were confirmed as champions on Thursday after a truly dominant campaign, ending Liverpool’s 30-year wait for the top-flight crown.
Carragher’s trophy haul from 17 seasons with Liverpool includes the Champions League, the UEFA Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, two FA Cups and three League Cups.
And he has admitted he had given up on ever seeing Liverpool being crowned champions again.
“It was shortly after my last meaningful title bid in 2009 that I started to lose my faith,” Carragher told The Telegraph.
“The 2010 season was awful. Xabi Alonso had been sold to Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez’s team was unraveling, and the club was braced for another period of reconstruction.
“Reluctantly, I faced up to the disheartening conclusion a championship victory parade would never happen.
“Throughout the 2000s we headed into every pre-season adamant a couple more signings might be the difference. On a few occasions they nearly were.
“But even when looking back upon my career, the times we came closest – in 2002 under Gerard Houllier and 2009 under Benitez – Arsenal and Manchester United were stronger.”
Carragher admitted that his pessimism grew when Manchester City’s mega-rich owners lured Pep Guardiola to the Etihad Stadium, a year after Klopp took charge at Anfield.
“Once outside the Kop bubble, the more I studied the broader landscape in English football, the more I realised the best Liverpool sides I played in punched above our weight,” he said.
“No matter who the manager, and as much as I considered Fenway Sports Group good owners, I could not see how it was possible to change that without a Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour-style investment.
“That feeling grew after Manchester City lured Pep Guardiola to England. I saw Guardiola v Jose Mourinho as the next great Premier League battle, with Klopp in a fight with Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino to finish in the top four.”
Carragher recalled how he wrote back in 2017 that he couldn’t see Klopp bringing the Premier League title.
“I am not convinced Jurgen Klopp will ever be able to bring it back to Anfield,” the former Liverpool defender wrote in his Telegraph column.
“It is no longer appropriate to evaluate the success of a Liverpool manager based on whether he wins the league. The competition is too strong to set the bar so high.”
The 42-year-old is of course happy to have been proved wrong, and compared Klopp to the great managers of Liverpool’s trophy-laden history.
“I am ecstatic to be wrong,” he said.
“As a Liverpool title winner, Jurgen Klopp now stands tall in the ultimate VIP suite alongside Kenny Dalglish, Joe Fagan, Paisley and Shankly.”
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