我知到有些人 – 特別年輕一輩 – 會嘲弄和說現今足球是比以前好。我們只需要看看近兩三年英超的曼城及利物浦的得分，對比起其他隊伍，這是一個明顯的差別。
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Stan Collymore Column: Liverpool are still on course to win four trophies – Premier League, Champion League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup – this season but Manchester United’s 1999 heroics are still top of the pile
If Liverpool win the Quadruple this season, or if they or Manchester City win it anytime soon, it will obviously be a fantastic achievement.
But it won’t be any greater than Tottenham’s Double win of 1960-61, Arsenal’s in 1970-71, or Liverpool’s in 1985-86. Nor will it be any greater than Manchester United’s Treble triumph in 1998-1999 which, pound for pound, would still be the greatest achievement of them all.
I’m not even sure it would be the greatest Quadruple ever, either, because that accolade surely has to belong to the Celtic team of 1966-67. The Lisbon Lions won the Scottish top flight at a time when it was the equal of the English First Division, two domestic cups and the European Cup … with just 14 players.
I know some of you – youngsters in particular – will scoff and say football is much better these days than it was back then. That we only have to see how many Premier League points have been won over the last two or three years by Liverpool and City, and the huge gap they have created between themselves and the rest of the division, to see that.
I acknowledge all that, but I also acknowledge it can be no coincidence that, as the game has got physically easier, less combative, with less intimidation and less physical contact, every single record across Europe has been broken. We must also nod to the fact those teams of yesteryear played on dreadful pitches and that there wasn’t the financial doping then that there is today.
Look at the way Liverpool picked off Virgil van Dijk and Said Mane from Southampton. When I played, Matt Le Tissier spent his career with the Saints, but he’d have been taken by one of the big boys after a couple of years these days, whether it was to go into their first team or sit on the bench.
Spurs, Arsenal and Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool all hit the heights with smaller squads than Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and City have at their disposal today. And let me be clear, while there are some wonderful players at Liverpool and City, Dalglish, George “Stroller” Graham, Danny Blanchflower and others would all have played in elite teams at the elite level now just as they did back then.
In terms of this season, regular readers will know I fancy City to win the Premier League and Champion League Double, with Liverpool settling for the two domestic cups. But that’s not to say I’d be surprised if Liverpool didn’t win the lot and I know they will be on it from the off against Villarreal tonight out of sheer muscle and brain memory from the way they’ve had to perform in recent days and weeks.
I don’t buy that Villarreal aren’t still in the tie. They just need to figure out a way of getting an early goal and, if they do, it’s game on. But the mentality of this Liverpool team is that even if they went 2-0 down in the first five minutes they would come back and win 4-2, and I’m still adamant we’ll be seeing them and City clashing in Paris on May 28.
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