In football, you can’t just be good in order to win. You need to be lucky as well.
It’s the only sport in the world where great performances are not always backed up by results.
In order to combine those two qualities and win, it’s not as simple as having the luck of the Irish or a magical genie lamp to make your wishes come true. In some ways it’s more precise than that, but in others it’s way more random.
Since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp in 2015, Liverpool have largely done things right. Almost every signing they’ve made since has been a major success, they haven’t blazed the trail per se with their tactics but they’ve been the ones to perfect them, and they’ve had many a memorable night to remember.
Yet as rival fans will point out, they’ve won a solitary Premier League title in that time and that they had huge slices of luck in that season anyways.
But ultimately, asterisks and footnotes next to achievements mean nothing compared to the actual honours themselves, and Klopp has bred a team that is both good and lucky (and have now won every trophy available to them, too).
Their FA Cup final win against Chelsea on Saturday is one of the greatest testaments to that. The Reds came flying out of the traps and could have been a couple of goals up early doors, while they had to weather several storms in order to simply hang in there. Thomas Tuchel is a top defensive coach and his low block would have frustrated Liverpool to no end.
Mohamed Salah went off with a groin injury in the first half and Virgil van Dijk was withdrawn after the 90 minutes as the match went into extra-time. And just like in February’s Carabao Cup final, Liverpool and Chelsea went to penalties once again.
Their record from the spot wasn’t flawless this time as Sadio Mane missed the chance to clinch the cup, but after Mason Mount’s attempt was saved by Alisson, Kostas Tsimikas – brought on for a limping Andy Robertson – sealed the win instead.
Liverpool were on top for much of the final even after losing a couple of core players. If it were a boxing match then they would have taken home the championship belt on points. But football is more unforgiving, yet even in the wake of these setbacks they clung on and gave themselves a chance.
Even when Liverpool looked vulnerable and Chelsea looked on top, they managed to outlast them – just as they did in February’s Wembley meeting. It’s not a coincidence that they haven’t lost in 240 minutes across these two finals as much as they haven’t technically won.
Liverpool need to be both good and lucky to complete the quadruple, there’s no other way. Thankfully for them, they’re halfway to their objective.