Opinion

2017/18 – A Season Of Progress

With the lap of appreciation by the players at the end of Sunday’s match against Brighton, it signalled the ending of the 2017/18 season. The thrilling 3-3 opener against Watford set the tone of the season, with the fans enduring a rollercoaster ride.

While we’ll remember the highs, the lows will be equally difficult to forget. So naturally the main question would be: could our season be considered a success? There’re arguments for each side of the story, so let us consider both spectrums.

Sense of Regret?

As a club with a storied history, there was definitely a sense of disappointment that there wasn’t silverware to add to our trophy cabinet. To go on a 7 year trophy drought is too long for Liverpool.

Of course there is still a chance that we might add the Champions League trophy to our trophy cabinet, but there were genuine chances to win trophies earlier in the season. As a fan, it was frustrating to see the team exit early in the local cups. Steven Gerrard echoed that view following Liverpool’s exit at the hands of West Brom, saying: “This club is about winning trophies so to get knocked out of this competition is a big blow for Jurgen Klopp and a big blow for this team”. The fact that we got knocked out by the likes of West Brom and Leicester City made the disappointment harder to stomach.

To add on, our league finish was kind of a let down considering we are arguably the second best team in the country. Let’s be honest, Man City’s form made winning the league nearly impossible, but at least we could’ve provided a challenge. Failure to win against lower opposition prove to be a major implication once again. That’s why we had to struggle to secure the final Champions League place, even though we were 10 points ahead of 5th placed Chelsea at one point in time. Hence, it could be argued that there is a tinge of regret about our season.

A Cause For Celebration

Of course while it’s easy to moan about failings, there’s much to celebrate about. One of it would be our defensive record which has improved this season. Alright, there’re still mistakes here and there but as a whole, it’s better than past seasons. In fact we only conceded 8 set piece goals throughout the entire season, which is the lowest in the past decade. That’s a major improvement considering the amount of stick we constantly receive for defending set pieces. This may be due to van Djik’s recruitment, which saw the number of goals conceded drop from 28 goals in 23 games, to 10 in 15 games after his arrival.

This ties in to our record at home, where we remained unbeaten at Anfield in the league. It is an achievement worth celebrating considering the last time we were unbeaten at home throughout a season was back in 2008-09. In fact, it’s just the second time in the last 30 years that the Reds achieved such a result. This further backs up our improvement in the defensive department.

Besides improvements to our defence, the other positive is prolonging our stay among Europe’s elite. This is first time since 2008-09 that the Reds secured back to back Champions League qualification. It’s important for it affects our recruitment, for players would want to compete in Europe’s top tier competition. Add in the fact that we’re able to compete with the super clubs despite a smaller budget shows that we’re on the right path. Thus, there’s a sense of excitement that we’re finally back among the elite.

And finally there’s the big one: Kiev. Even though no one rated us at the start, we managed to reach the finals nonetheless. Winning it is premature talk, but getting there signals that we’re among the big boys once again. For a club of such stature, it is hugely satisfying to be back to where we belong.

Klopp described our Champions League odyssey as “a crazy ride” cause of the way we did it. Our journey was no mean feat, and we should we proud that made it this far. That is why this season should be worth celebrating, for it highlights the progress we’ve made.

Final Thoughts

While there may be areas that leaves much to be desired, one should consider our season to be a relative success. If the core of the team (especially the Fab 3) remains the same for next season, there’ll be much to look forward to. Add in a few personnel and fans can expect further progression come 2018/19.

These are exciting times to be a Kopite. Cheers to 17/18, and to more success for the following campaign!

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