Those old thoughts must have popped back up inside your head after Mbappe’s equalizer at Anfield: “man, here we go again.”
Over the last few years, Liverpool have managed to let teams they should have buried back into the game. Missed chances, lapses in concentration, and the odd shambolic defensive miscue had become all too common in Merseyside.
Paris Saint-Germain’s visit to Anfield felt but another chapter in a collection of near misses.
Allez Les Rouges. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/U9tcbqqhX2
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 19, 2018
Dropped heads and finger-pointing became the norm for Brendan Rodgers’ underachieving side, but Jurgen Klopp’s brigade showcased a defiance that bordered on arrogance during their second-half siege on Areola’s goal.
The reaction to Firmino’s latest brilliant display was one of exuberant serenity—nothing less than a win would have been acceptable. This was no fluke, the 50-odd thousand at Anfield expected this outcome.
“This is Anfield,” said a visually-frustrated Thomas Tuchel after the match. “This is what they do.”
LFC’s home in Merseyside has undergone significant upgrades over the last three years, none more apparent than the imposing new Main Stand. An increased capacity, which now sits at 54,742, has made the crowd an even bigger factor at the famous ground.
Investments off the field have resulted in an increased level of performance on it. When Fenway Sports Group took over LFC in October of 2010, the club was worth roughly $800 million. That value now hovers around $2 billion, according to Forbes.
As Klopp has overseen the gains in the training group, FSG and LFC CEO Peter Moore have continued to make strides in the commercial side of the business. Moore was brought in after the success he had at making video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) a leader in the industry.
One of the aspects the club was lacking back in 2010 was a commercial presence at the scale other English teams like Manchester United had. Although the gap between the two clubs remains, it has shrunk significantly.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 18, 2018
FSG has secured lucrative deals with shirt-sponsor Standard Chartered, sleeve-sponson and commercial transaction partner Western Union, kit provider New Balance, and most recently apparel stalwart Levi’s.
The gains from these partnerships are two-fold: increased brand exposure and more diverse sources of income. LFC’s increased financial might over the last three transfer windows have shown these benefits in action.
The club seems to be sailing smooth seas in both the sporting and commercial arenas. Another deep run in Europe’s most prestigious tournament would only increase the gains in both of those components.
LFC have struck a balance between the on and off the field products, making the club not only an interesting project for players, but also an attractive potential partnership for investors.
PSG will not be the last team to leave Anfield with nothing to show for their efforts. Klopp has managed to get the squad and the crowd in complete harmony, fulfilling his promise to “turn doubters into believers. Combine that with the increased financial might—making it possible to attract some of Europe’s most sought-after talents—and it makes Liverpool an opponent to be feared.
Looks like those famous nights are here to stay.