Liverpool’s title-winning exploits have allowed them to silence critics who have “taken the Michael” for 30 years, says Phil Thompson, with the former Reds skipper seeing the Anfield giants firmly “back on our perch”.
Ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson delighted during his reign at Old Trafford in pointing out that a once dominant force in English football had been knocked off their pedestal by the Red Devils.
The tide has started to turn again, though, with Liverpool savouring Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League triumphs as those in Manchester undergo their own rebuilding process.
Records have been sent tumbling by Jurgen Klopp’s side in 2019-20, with a first top-flight crown in three decades secured while sat 23 points clear of the chasing pack.
Thompson formed part of similar successes in his playing days, with seven First Division titles claimed in the 1970s and 80s, and he is thrilled to see the Reds bringing the good times back – especially as many had written the Merseyside outfit off.
The former Liverpool captain told Sky Sports: “We are back on our perch. It has been a long time coming, I won’t use the expletive that came before it but we are back.
“It’s been a long, long time. It has been a generation, 30 years, and yes, we have had the Champions League, which has been fantastic.
“But Liverpool has always been out of the league championship, the Premier League, and we have not been able to get our hands on it.
“It has been a burden to everybody. A lot of managers have had to carry it and to Jurgen Klopp and the players, congratulations, I thank you so much because it has been hard.
“They have been an absolute pleasure to watch and I have to congratulate them.
“I have four boys and I have been desperate to watch them win the Premier League title, it has been the Holy Grail and we have done it.”
Thompson added on the long wait to savour domestic dominance again: “We’ve been successful with trophies, we have won in the past and it has been wonderful.
“But as the years have gone by, Gerard Houllier came second, Rafa [Benitez] came second, Brendan [Rodgers] came second.
“There have been some really good teams, but not as good as this one. This team has deserved it - 97 points last year and they didn’t bring it home.
“There are a lot of people who were giggling and thinking ‘you are not going to get that chance again’.
“So to go and compete with this Manchester City team is absolutely wonderful.
“Those young people who have not had that opportunity and those other fans who have taken the Michael out of Liverpool Football Club because we hadn’t won the Premier League...we have done it!
“If this team stays together, which I think it will, they will be a hell of a team to beat next year.”