If the title is snatched from Liverpool’s grasp again, few people will understand Jurgen Klopp’s pain like Brendan Rodgers.
The Northern Irishman came within a well-documented Steven Gerrard slip of leading the Reds back to the top of English football after a 24-year wait in 2014.
Six years on with the club just two wins away, lightning could strike twice if, despite the best efforts of the Premier League, the season is curtailed.
“They’ve clearly been consistently the best team,” said Rodgers, currently third with Leicester. “The level that they’ve been playing at, the quality – they’ve just been absolutely fantastic.
“So it would be an absolute shame if they don’t get the chance to to lift the title.
“They’ve been waiting so, so long – they’re deserving of it. But Jurgen will be like everyone, hoping that we can get back playing but obviously in a safe environment.
“It just wasn’t to be for us and of course you have moments where you think back to that season. We were so close, and it would have been brilliant for us to have done it. But it wasn’t to be so you just have to to move on.”
Rodgers’ comments were part of a wide-ranging interview with Eamonn Holmes’ on the celebrated broadcaster’s podcast Eamonn and the Gaffers.
In it, the former Celtic, Watford, Reading and Swansea boss talks about his early years and his determination to reach 1000 games as a manager.
He also discusses his concern that it could take years for football to return to normal after the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier League chiefs meet on Friday to examine ways to keep the season alive – even though football has been curtailed in Holland, Belgium and France with PSG named champions of Ligue 1.
If the League were to be frozen here Leicester would play Champions League football next season. But Rodgers would prefer to earn the Foxes’ spot.
“All we can do is focus on ourselves,” he said. “Leicester has qualified once before in the history of the Champions League and that of course was that iconic season when they won the league.
“To do it a second time would be an incredible achievement.”
Elite European football would also be a just reward for the rapid progress Rodgers has made in reviving a club 12th in the Premier League when he succeeded Claude Puel in February 2019.
Although star defender Harry Maguire left for Manchester United last summer, Rodgers believes defenders Jonny Evans (“the deal of the century for £3.5million”) and Caglar Soyuncu have been pivotal in helping Leicester to leapfrog the Reds.
“We were one of the clubs that was talked about last year with the possibility of breaking into the top six,” said Rodgers. “That in itself was always going to be a really, really difficult challenge.
“But the players are third on merit. They’ve worked so hard to take on board what we’ve tried to bring into the club over the last year or so.
“They’ve been consistent in their mentality and the training. And obviously, they’ve produced some wonderful performances and results.
“We want to be able to finish the job you know, we’ll see if we can do that.”
Champions League football could help to land Phillippe Coutinho, the mercurial Brazilian signed for Liverpool in 2013.
Asked by Holmes about a possible reunion Rodgers responded: “I’ve seen lots of rumors and speculation and I think that Philippe’s a wonderful player, a brilliant talent.
“But he’d be someone that would be a way out of our price bracket to be honest.”
Then came that wry smile.
Eamonn and the Gaffers is available on iTunes and on YouTube.