Which Is More Important for Liverpool? A Top Four Finish or Winning Cup Silverware

Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool skipper has admitted that it would be a fantastic achievement for the club if his side can win a cup double.

The Reds will face Chelsea on Saturday in the FA Cup final at Wembley, and the skipper is very much aware of the fact that another cup victory will not only add prestige to the club but they can look back at the season with satisfaction and claim it as a success.

Having already secured the Carling Cup, the addition of a second trophy will provide cause for contentment. However, the club has fallen short of expectations in the league. In fact, they are way behind in terms of quality from the teams at the top.

Gerrard believes that winning the trophy would allow an air of optimism and positivity at the club that could galvanize their league campaign next season.

“This club is all about winning trophies, big trophies, and the FA Cup comes under that,” the Liverpool captain said while speaking to The Times. “We will assess the season after the weekend. If we can look back and say we have won two cups, then we will be happy.

“Silverware is success. That’s why we play the game. Some of the biggest experiences we have had over the years is from winning cups — the European Cup, the FA Cup, the Uefa Cup, the Carling Cup. Those are the nights and days that you look back on with fond memories.

“The FA Cup is special, but we got a taste of success from winning the Carling Cup. That will help the younger players in the squad. Winning breeds confidence and you want more. That’s what we want on Saturday. But we need to address the problem of our league position. We hope it can kick-start us for next season. We are all aware we have underachieved in the league and the squad of players is certainly better than where we are.

“We will assess the season and if we win two trophies, I think it would alleviate the pressure slightly. People will judge us after Saturday. People will say, ‘You haven’t done well in the league,’ but we can say, ‘Yes, but we have won two cups.’ I think that’s a fair argument.”

Very fine, but how important it is for Liverpool to break into the top four than winning cups?

Winning silverware is the ultimate aim for any club participating in a competition. For Liverpool, it is more than apt. The club was used to winning silverware on an annual basis and they have made their name in England and Europe by virtue of their winning mentality.

But football has changed since those halcyon 1980’s. It has reached a stage where football is merged with business. In a cut-throat competition, staying financially stable is also an achievement that is considered a success.

Putting it simply, Champions League qualification fetches significantly more money and hence it is impertinent to qualify for Europe. Liverpool fans proudly flaunt their European success, but if they can’t make it to Europe at all, does winning domestic cups do anything to the club glory on a long term basis?

Secondly, let us leave the finances for a while. I assume Liverpool has enough funds to compete with the big boys. But, how is a club supposed to improve their squad next season when they may finish below sixth or even ninth position this year? How will they attract a top quality player? One Luis Suarez is not enough and hopefully Liverpool fans understand that by now.

It is painfully simple – get in to Europe, earn money, attract top players, improve your squad and challenge for the honours.

In yesteryear, it was different. The successful clubs worked from the basic levels, made a good team with the academy graduates and local lads, won titles and earned money. But, find me a single club apart from Bilbao who follows this ancient model of reaping gold?

The more Liverpool will be out of top four, they will invite dangers. Clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City will never have problems in generating cash. They have a sugar daddy in place. Likewise Spurs and Arsenal will probably continue to earn UEFA Champions League revenue and build their squads. Therefore, Liverpool will find it almost impossible to match them.

Many journalists have cited examples of Arsenal and how top players have left the club for higher ambitions. They opined mere participating in Europe doesn’t matter unless you win.

But, here they are ignoring a subjective point. Arsenal needed financial stability after building the Emirates Stadium. They were also going through a transition phase after losing key senior players and the squad needed a complete overhaul. It is to the credit of Arsene Wenger that he has kept the club functional from every aspect. They have Champions League football and money to offer to any top players. At least their chances of building a good squad and fighting for silverware is better than clubs who are outside the top four.

Valencia is another burning example of why you need European football more than anything else. They have been qualifying for Europe for the past few years and now can look forward to building their new stadium. Isn’t that a success (how little it may be)? Isn’t the club moving in the right direction? Had the club won two Spanish cups in between and finished outside the top four, could they at all take this brave decision of finalizing their dream project?

The crux of the matter is breaking into Europe is very important for more than one reason. For a club like Liverpool, winning silverware is essential. However, they must not forget their braggart lies in “18 league titles & 5 European Cups”. This is indeed called history, so isn’t it better if they start focusing on building another history? For that they need to be competitive and without Champions League football it is not going to be easy.

Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @SMandal87

13 thoughts on “Which Is More Important for Liverpool? A Top Four Finish or Winning Cup Silverware”

  1. Say what you want but domestic cup wins do not bring in money (comparably speaking) or entice top players to come to the club like Champions League qualification.

    And for a club with the history of Liverpool, not being in the hunt for the Premier League title or European qualification is just not good enough. I think the current owners would agree with me.

  2. Utter nonsense from some of the other posters. ‘A false sense of accomplishment”? Seriously when a player sits down at the end of the career to talk to his grandkids don’t you think he wants some medals to show? Some stories of cup finals to talk about?
    Is it a better achievement for a player to play 6 seasons in his career in the Champions League, but never get further than a quarter final, or to play one season and be a winner?
    Of course the champions league is important, but it is a very sad world modern supporters live in if they deem finshing 4th every year as utopia and never taste what it feels like to win a trophy.
    Liverpool have been a pretty disappointing team this season with the exception of the cups, and nobody needs to overlook how tamely they have capitulated, at home, to teams they should be beating in their sleep. Work needs to be done, hard decisions need to be made, but you enter two cup competitions and win them both and that is a good season, despite everything else.
    That said they have only won one so far, and I feel they are going to need one of their best performances of the season on Saturday, and can afford no passangers, and whoever is selcted out of the misfiring performers is going to need to prove everyone wrong or I think Chelsea will be able to get a goal and defend and then get another on the break and have a very comfortable afternoon.

  3. The Cups are hardly a big accomplishment as most if not all of the clubs in contention for a top 4 or Premiership title do not field their best teams.

    They are a consolation prize to allow the lesser clubs into Euro and give their clubs something attainable when unable to compete with the big clubs.

    See how many players mention coming to LFC to win the Carling or FA cup. We spent alot of money and JH said top 4 and CL were the goal.

    We have a tough road ahead of us, no sugar daddy, and no CL football to attract top talent. In a different time playing for LFC was a big draw, now playing for a CL level team is what sells.

    1. You sir should be ashamed to have that picture while you’re making statements like ‘cups are hardly a big accomplishment’. Any cup for any team is an accomplishment. You take part in the first place in order to win. Manchester United for example may not have fielded their best squad for rounds in the League Cup but looking back on how their cup run has ended I’d hazard a guess that he wishes he would have played it differently if they lose the league. Let’s not forget that either Manchester United or Manchester City will walk away at the end of this season empty handed – at least Liverpool can add new silverware to the trophy cabinet.

      Champions League football with come around again for Liverpool but until that happens, how can you sit there and slate their cup run?

      I’ve said this countless times before but it’s high time people stopped focussing on past glory because it was 2 decades ago! Stop being so negative, appreciate any silverware for what it is, and be positive. It’s never mattered where Liverpool have finished in the Premier League era because for as long as its not at the top of the table people will insist on saying it’s been a disappointing season and that really annoys me.

      With the money behind teams like Man City, you best be prepared for another very long road to travel down because it’s only going to harder for everybody else come August!

  4. Surely winning the Carling/ FA Cup does not run counter to the prospects for a top 4 finish in the PL and I bet Kenny and company are not too bothered by the “pressing” question of whether to put more importance to cup or league results. To be very objective, cup winners historically (carling/fa/ucl) are generally among the top 4 finishers in the league (any back of the envelope calculation would reveal this); the analysis is that simple if you put common sense and cold logic into it.

  5. Quote: “Let’s not forget that either Manchester United or Manchester City will walk away at the end of this season empty handed – at least Liverpool can add new silverware to the trophy cabinet. ”

    I’d wager neither would trade a top 4 and CL football for either cup.

    I am just being brutally honest, a double will not make the season a success for LFC when their league finish is 8th to 13th.

    1. Of course neither team would trade Champions League for domestic silverware but neither would pass up on them either. The league is a teams bread and butter and the FA Cup will always hold a very special place with all concerned so to hear you slating the competitions is odd.

      You’re not being brutally honest at all, you’re just sounding like the rest of the negative followers of this club who keep on dragging us back in time. A double WILL make this season a success because it’s a double more than ANYBODY else will have done this season. They may not have won the League Cup in the most convincing fashion but the fact is they won it and it’s got their name on! I hate so called fans like you because we all want to be doing better in the league but simple fact is we’ve not managed it this year (I’ve been saying this for 20 years… although we did come extremely close twice!) but at the same time we’ve done better than all other clubs trophy wise so yes, this season to a certain degree, IS a success.

      If you’re just going to be negative (or brutally honest as you put it) then don’t say anything at all. I guess you won’t be watching the final tomorrow seeing as they’ve already failed in your eyes this season.

  6. Winning a cup or cups can sometimes hide a club’s problems. Don’t forget Birmingham won the Carling Cup but were still relegated. Was that a successful season for them? I bet they would take avoiding relegation to winning the Carling Cup anytime. For clubs that are bottom to midtable it does mean something to win a cup. But for the top-tier clubs it is always more important to win the title or qualify for the Champions League. Winning the Carling Cup or FA Cup is just the icing on the cake for those clubs.

    For Liverpool sadly they are now a midtable team (the league table doesn’t lie) so winning a cup or cups is a big deal.

    1. The priority for any top club is 1. domestic league, 2. europe, 3. fa cup, 4. league cup. Even teams in the running for Europe still want to add as many trophies to their cabinets… after all it’s the only thing a club is ever remembered for.

      As for a mid table team? Yep… quicker people realise that the better! Stop with the top 4 talk, we’ve not been there for a while. Leave us be to regroup and sort it out… we’ll be back.

      If Liverpool win tomorrow they return to the top of the pile as it’ll be their 16th domestic cup win. Currently tied on 15 (7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups) with Man U (11 FA Cups, 4 League Cups)… so that’s another incentive for victory 😉

  7. Well, I don’t hate fans like you or anyone else who wants to debate a difference of opinion.
    My daughter is graduating college tomorrow, so I’ll probably catch the match in the evening on Fox2Go.
    Title of the column asked a question in itself.
    I gave my opinion in the context of that question.
    Sad that as an LFC fan if you don’t walk lock step with the worshipers of KD you are attacked and told you can’t be a true fan……

  8. Quote: “As for a mid table team? Yep… quicker people realise that the better! Stop with the top 4 talk, we’ve not been there for a while. Leave us be to regroup and sort it out… we’ll be back. ”

    This is probably the best advice for myself and other LFC fans who think of our club as being on the same level as Man U,City, Arsenal, Chelsea and the other squads always at the top of the table.

    I think mine and Paul’s disagreement was due to different perceptions of what LFC is as a club right now.
    I stand corrected and will probably rest easier with lower expectations.

  9. While keeping your hands where we can see them, Mr. Dalglish, slowly step away from the transfer kitty.

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