There has been a lot of talk about Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side this season and for good reason. They have been impeccable for 27 rounds, starting the Premier League campaign like no other club, winning 26 and getting only one draw, against Manchester United. Last weekend they lost 3-0 to Watford and their run for invincibility fell apart.
Then, three days later, they lost to Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round, as they changed most of their starting XI. But in the end, what all of this led to was to say that they are not the better team than the Manchester United side of 1998-99 which won the much famed treble. But why was the question there even to begin with?
Media Need To Create Conversations
One of the reasons for that is that the media have created the urgency to compare all contemporary sides to those great sides of the past. It does not matter whether they are comparing them to the great Liverpool of the 80s, Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble winning team or even Arsenal’s Invincibles of 2004. The point is that there need to be comparisons with sides that bring nostalgia into conversation.
The modern day media have a big urge to drive conversations and get the engagement rates up, through the social media hot takes which will start big conversations and arguments. The fact that all of these teams are incomparable is not really important, the important thing is to keep talking and talking and talking.
That will bring likes, shares, clicks and all the other necessary stuff.
Recency Bias Has A Big Role
But also, there is that thing that the recency bias has a big role in all of this talk. Last season, and the season before that, when Manchester City were winning titles with 98 and 100 points respectively, breaking all possible records and winning the domestic treble, it was all about them being compared with the best English sides of the past few decades.
These days, Man City seem like a long lost team, a forgotten side no one really talks about anymore. There is Liverpool and the comparisons to 1999’s Man United team. That is the focus now and then next season it might be another team, or going back to Man City.
What all of this tells us is that there is no real conversation, no real arguments in all of this. It is just the urge to keep talking and tweeting as much as possible.
The greatness of Manchester United’s treble winning team is that everything is being compared to them. But the problem is that other teams, like Liverpool and Man City, are being compared to them too easily. Time needs to pass in order to see how great some things were.
In the past 21 years, we have further realized just how hard it is for clubs to win the treble, anywhere in Europe. That is why we can appreciate that success even more these days. And for Liverpool of 2020, they might be a truly great side that many will remember for decades, but before we start putting them up in the skies, it would be good if they ended their season first.
And they will not end it with a treble.