'Miracles happen at Liverpool' - Reds legend Thompson believes Klopp's side can win quadruple

17:00 EAT 29/03/2022
The Merseysiders have already lifted the Carabao Cup but could they really also land the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League?

For Phil Thompson, the comparisons are obvious.

“It’s 2001 all over again, isn’t it?” the Liverpool legend tells GOAL, unable to conceal a smile. “I’m amazed more hasn’t been made of that, actually.”

He’s got a point. Just as they did 21 years ago, the Reds stand on the brink of history, gunning for glory on multiple fronts and close to giving their supporters the season they always dreamed of. 

Thompson was the assistant manager to Gerard Houllier in 2001, when a treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup was secured, and then followed up with qualification for the Champions League on the final day of the season. 

Unprecedented, they called it. Liverpool played every game they could possibly play that season, 63 of them in total. If everything goes their way during the next eight weeks, Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasers will reach the same figure. 

Do they even dare to dream about getting everything they’ve ever wanted?

Thompson, one of the most decorated players in the club’s history and a European Cup-winning captain in 1981, says they should. 

“Look, it’ll take a miraculous effort,” he says, eyes widening. “But if a miracle is going to happen, it will happen to Liverpool Football Club. That is the magic kingdom, when it comes to this sport.

“So, I look and say yes, it’s a tall order, but we can do it.”

Klopp and his players, of course, would wince at such comments.

Theirs is the ‘each game as it comes’ mantra, and it is one that has stood them in good stead to this point. While the world talks and the world dreams, Liverpool simply go to work.

Thompson admires that, and he remembers the mentality of that 2001 run-in, when every fixture felt decisive.

Houllier’s side played eight games in April and six in May that year. Klopp’s team could face an even more arduous schedule.

“I look at the fixtures for April and it’s like ‘wow!’” smiles Thompson, and just for a moment he is assistant manager again, giving a rousing speech to his players in the dressing room.

“Don’t fear it, enjoy it!” he says. “Go and take it. This is what you play football for. Big match, big match, big match. 

“Take it one at a time, chalk each one off, and, at the end of it all, you could have everything you’ve ever wanted. How good does that sound?”

As a player, Thompson won it all, including seven league titles and a pair of European Cups.

Later, he was reserve team coach under Kenny Dalglish, leaving after a fall-out with his successor, Graeme Souness. 

His return to the club as No.2 to Houllier coincided with Liverpool’s return to prominence.

The 2001 League Cup, for example, was their first piece of silverware in six years, and the UEFA Cup which followed was their first European trophy in 17. 

Klopp has spoken previously about the weight of history at Anfield, and how that history should be embraced not feared. His players, he says, must write their own chapters, not compare themselves to the great sides of the past.

Thompson can relate.

“When I was there with Gerard, I can remember him saying similar things,” he says. “I would say it too. I’d tell the players ‘Make yourself legends’. 

“Gerard used to have a big thing about ex-players who had won everything, and were now criticising in the media. He’d tell the players to go out and prove them wrong, show them that they belonged. 

“Make yourselves legends, make yourselves heroes. And the only way to do that is by winning, and winning consistently.”

He returns to the present team, and the challenges to come.

“I look at this squad, and it’s so well-equipped,” he says. “Touch wood, we don’t get too many injuries, but even if we do, look at the bench now. 

“It’s full of game-changers, players who can make the difference. In the last few months, we’ve had top players not even making the bench. That will stand us in good stead.

“The focus is there, the quality is there, and they will get the greatest support in the world, every step of the way.”

He’s on a roll now, finishing with a message for Klopp and his team.

“This is their chance,” he says “Don’t shy away from it, thrive on it. 

“Make sure it’s your pictures that are up on the wall alongside Dalglish, [Alan] Hansen, [Roger] Hunt, Souness. Make sure they have to keep changing the trophy count on that Champions Wall at the training ground.

“Make yourselves legends.”

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