Was the Leicester City Championship run more exciting than Liverpool's in 2020?
The English Premier League has been a competition of late which has had many close endings to the seasons. No one will ever forget the ending to the Manchester City Title winning season with the amazing comeback against QPR 3-2. Ending promptly when Sergio Aguero scored the game-winner with little time to spare, breaking Manchester United hearts. Next to the Arsenal undefeated season in the mid-2000s there has yet to be a team to match that feat. Liverpool is running away with the points every week seemingly refusing to draw a match. The question is: is this Liverpool of 2019-2020 run, more exciting than the Leicester City of the 2013-2014 season?
This is one of the hardest questions that at least I have ever thought about concerning the EPL. I am a fan of both teams, indeed the only two teams that would wake me up on a Saturday at 7:00 AM to catch their matches. Since it is in the past Leicester City, and Liverpool’s magical season is still in full steam, it seems to be an intelligent place to start. Watching The Fox’s play that season was like watching something meant to be. The club did not have its way throughout the season, there were many points when they had to come back to draw or win to gain the top of English Football. The season was about the moments.
N’Golo Kante dominating the mid-field like a man possessed seemingly winning possession without any effort. Danny Drinkwater feeding Vardy some of the most perfect through balls like a master of his craft. Then, of course, Jamie Vardy himself, the young man who just a few seasons earlier was playing with an ankle bracelet on, due to a run-in with the law. Now without the device on the ankle, Vardy shined like the Northern Lights on a clear Montana night. Scoring in more consecutive games than any other player in the history of the league, surpassing the great Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy. It wasn’t just the goals either; it was how he scored the goals that made them so exciting.
I have written in articles before that I remember the exact time and place I witnessed the volley that seemed to cement his confidence to that of a superstar. It came against Liverpool while my family was on vacation in St. John. Sitting and watching I distinctly remember thinking, “there’s no way he is going to volley that ball.” Vardy not only volleyed the ball but hit it with such venom that it swerved into the upper right corner of the goal so fast that I dropped my beverage reaching for a rewind on the TV. That is just one of the exciting moments that one can never forget. Robert Huth's headed goal against Tottenham, the only goal of the game was another huge moment in the season.
Wes Morgan, The Captain, the leader, scoring a headed goal when The Fox’s needed it the most. De Laet’s goal against Aston Villa to start the comeback that took a second to confirm it crossed the line. Then Dyer taking one for the team jumping for a ball with no regard for his safety bounces into the goal 3-2 Fox’s. Shinji Okazaki coming through in moments earlier in the season that were crucial to winning games, and the Keeper Casper Schmeichel can’t be unmentioned due to his incredible skill in goal that season.
Vardy’s penalties seemingly always ripping the netting due to the speed the striker puts on his shots. Without a doubt, it was the most unlikely of seasons, the most unlikely of champions. Quite honestly that’s not what mattered to me as a fan, what mattered were the moments that make you love football. Claudio Ranieri’s unique laid back style made that team click, and along with the phenomenal players they were a team of destiny. They shocked the world like Ali in his prime. 25,000-1 underdogs that I nearly put 5$ on, by the way, dumbest choice of my life, anyhow I digress. The season was certainly one for the ages and brought more fans, especially American fans back to watching the EPL. With the growth of MLS, I believe the L.C season had a lot to do with the rise of new franchises in the US.
Now we come to Liverpool and those amazing fans at beautiful Anfield. Truly there has never been a stadium in which I have met more kind and generous people than at the Merseyside landmark stadium. This season Liverpool has been simply dominant. Alisson has had nine clean sheets so far this season, and of course, the team from Northern England is undefeated and set to break every record in the history of the EPL. With Liverpool, I see so much grit and determination, much the same way I saw with Leicester. The togetherness of this Liverpool side is something else entirely. Players almost seem to have telepathy from across the field, knowing where the ball should be played for a teammate.
The playing style is incredible to watch. Rarely do you see players bursting towards a ball they just lost to get it back multiple times a game? That is what Jurgen Klopp has created at Liverpool, along with an amazing cast of players that all start for their international clubs. What makes this season so exciting is that it has been so far in the coming for the club. Liverpool has dominated English football in the past, and to see the way that the hiring of Klopp has transported the team to the highest heights is quite the feat for any manager to accomplish.
Watching the pure speed and athletic ability of players like Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah on both wings is a reason to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Liverpool has risen back to prominence, and that is what makes this season so enthralling to watch for me. Although the season is not over yet Liverpool with likely become the most successful team ever, which is so rare in sports that it should be recognized. Although the Club still has more games to play with 14 weeks left in the season, Liverpool just seems so, so close to perfection. To boot that perfection so far has been with only one draw, a mind-boggling accomplishment at this level of football.
The truth is this is a question that should be asked to all of you. I have written many a story about Liverpool, and I love watching them play. The year that Leicester City won was just something so odd in sports that I don’t think it will ever be replicated. However, the question comes down to what is more exciting for a football fan to watch: Perfection or watching the seemingly impossible become possible?