There is no doubt that top four represents modest success but trophies are what eventually matter and the only way to make stars stay at the club.
Liverpool social media is awash with two key pieces today – two ex-Reds combining to put Barcelona through to the Copa del Rey finals and Mohamed Salah’s apparent attractiveness to Real Madrid.
Lest you are living in a world beyond social media chatter, there is no way one could have missed the news of Philippe Coutinho scoring his first in the Blaugrana colours, assisted by none other than that man – Luiz Suarez.
This reopened Reds fans’ old wounds, prompting a series of memes and emotional reactions on social media. To add to the misery, Coutinho spoke of his ambition to win trophies, citing that as the primary reason for making the move to Spain.
He is now just one step – a final – away from winning what could be first of many to come during his time at Barca.
Ah, trophies! Remember those sweet, memorable, shiny things?
The last time the Reds won a trophy was in 2012 (the League Cup). Prior to that was the FA Cup in 2006.
For a club that prides itself on history and silverware, Liverpool has been starved of it for far too long and that – at least partly – is responsible for some of the impatience, negativity and disbelief on display by fans.
2017/18 will be added to that list as one more season of wait and hope; it is fairly safe to say that no one is racing Manchester City for the Premier League title while Liverpool also exit the FA Cup early.
The smallest of them domestic cups – that still counts as a trophy nevertheless – will see a final played out between Arsenal and Pep Guardiola’s side.
The only trophy the Reds are in contention for – at least theoretically – is the Champions League. While it is too early to write them off, it would also be getting far ahead of ourselves to think of them as anywhere close to being favourites.
This is also Klopp’s second full season at the club and while there has undeniably been progress, there is quest for more; that deliverance can only come with a trophy.
The German is the right fit for the club, but he is not a one-man show that can attract as well as retain star players. This was also evident during his days at Borussia Dortmund, although they did win the Bundesliga and domestic trophies during his helm.
The Premier League though, is a whole deal tougher, since it is not a two- or three-way fight for the title. The top six are labelled so for a reason, although Spurs and Liverpool have no contribution to the silverware tally in recent memory.
While Coutinho is one example of a player moving on under Klopp, Liverpool have seen plenty of it before. The likes of Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and many a name prior to that have swapped Merseyside for shinier shores.
It is therefore, little wonder that Mo Salah is already being linked with a move to Real Madrid. Despite only arriving on Merseyside in the summer, the Egyptian has taken like duck to water and set the Premier League alight.
Salah’s form in front of goal is definitely one of the chief reasons why the Reds are in the top four, and continue to be in a strong position to retain their spot in that elite group come May.
With 28 goals across competitions (21 of those in the league), he has set tongues wagging across the wide world of football. The winger’s countryman Mido spoke in glowing terms of the Reds number 11 and his goal tally.
For the second time in 3 months, the former Egyptian striker also spoke of how Salah could be useful at Madrid and also how no player in world football could turn down either of the Spanish giants.
These rumours of a potential transfer within a season have put modern football in perspective. The ability to wait to win, and persist with the same team is no longer commonplace, as players intend to make the most of what their short careers allow.
While Salah did speak of wanting to play for the Reds as a child, having supported the club since then, not one fan is going to swallow that pill as the complete truth. Liverpool is his present, yes, but may or may not be the future.
It also means the approach and objective for the Reds as a club, is clear.
They need to not just procure and develop but also retain their star players, and for this, action must be taken with a view of the present – especially in lieu of transfers.
Trophies are not a longer term goal; the Reds need to win silverware in the short term to stay relevant as not just a ghost of the past but as a modern-day challenger.
It is, in fact, the only way the likes of Salah – and probably Firmino and Sadio Mané in the years to come – will want to not just move to Liverpool Football Club but also stay there for good measure.