Liverpool is playing with house money, despite the fact two pots of gold still are within touching distance.
That’s the opinion of former Liverpool player Vladimir Smicer, who told NESN.com on Thursday he considers the Reds’ 2018-19 season a smashing success, as they remain in the hunt for Premier League and UEFA Champions League glory.
Liverpool trails Manchester City by one point in the Premier League standings heading into the final games of the season, which will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday. Liverpool must beat Wolves at Anfield, and Manchester City must lose or draw at Brighton for the Reds to end their 29-year wait for a league championship.
Whether Liverpool ultimately wins the Premier League or finishes runner-up won’t change Smicer’s belief that the current campaign has been one for the ages.
“The season was definitely a success,” Smicer said. “I know the fans are asking for trophies, but the way the first team played all season has been really good. I enjoyed watching them. They brought entertainment, played offensive football, scoring goals. For me, it has been a success. I’m still hoping we’ll bring at least one trophy back to Anfield.
“Last season, we were (25) points behind Manchester City in the Premier League? Look now, we’re in a situation where we’re only one point behind them this season. We made massive progress, and that’s why it has to be called a successful season.
Smicer played for Liverpool between 1999 and 2005. His tenure at the club included the cup-treble triumph of 2001 and the miracle comeback win in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, in which he scored an important goal.
Having spent so much time at Liverpool, he’s aware of how seemingly mystical forces have pushed Liverpool past opponents at key moments throughout its history. That’s probably why he didn’t balk at the suggestion destiny is on the Reds’ side, especially in light of the Reds’ epic comeback win over Barcelona on Tuesday in the Champions League semifinals.
“Why not? We all hope,” Smicer said. “Unfortunately it’s not in our hands. Manchester City is in the favorite, and if they win their game, that’s it.
“I don’t know it seems like maybe something can happen because. Last game against Newcastle we scored (the winning goal) with five minutes left in the game. The win against Barcelona puts more pressure on Manchester City because they can feel we’re still behind them waiting for their mistakes. I just hope we can be rewarded this year.
“We may finish the league with 97 points and still finish second, which is crazy. But we’ll see. I’m really looking forward to this weekend. We need to concentrate on our result and win against Wolves. They’re playing pretty well, so we need to be careful.”
Liverpool next week will turn its attention to the Champions League final, in which it will take on Tottenham on June 1 in Madrid. The Reds won’t need to enter that game as English champions to be winners in Smicer’s eyes.
Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com