Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore believes adding a long-awaited league title to their Champions League triumph is the “barometer of success” by which the club is judged.
A sixth European Cup was secured in June, less than a month after the Reds were narrowly pipped by Manchester City to the Premier League by a point, despite a tally which would have guaranteed top spot in 25 of the last 27 seasons.
The league resumes on Saturday with Jurgen Klopp’s side – in possession of the only 100 per cent record in England’s top four divisions – eight points clear of City and set for another title challenge.
“I think that is what our fans want,” Moore exclusively told the PA news agency.
“We were so close last year, 97 points, and in any other year we would have won it.
“But the club goes on and I think that (a league title), for many of our fans, would sit alongside our Champions League triumph as the barometer of success.
“As a club off the pitch we have a set of visions, missions and values and at the top of that sits supporting the team to ‘win trophies’.
“Two words, because ultimately that is what our fans want and that is what we need to deliver.”
City have been the domestic benchmark for their rivals, with four Premier League titles, four League Cups and two FA Cups since 2011.
However, Moore insists Liverpool are following their own path.
“We feel good about the club in its entirety and we don’t compare ourselves with any other football club,” he added.
“What Liverpool had to do was bring in a world-class manager, which we have, bring in a world-class squad, which we have, play exciting football, bring in players that are going to draw crowds no matter where they go – we’ve done that – build financial security at the club, we’ve done that.
“It all sets us up for success going forward. It is not a question of us comparing ourselves versus another club.”
Exactly nine years ago Fenway Sports Group – then New England Sports Ventures – completed their £300million purchase of the club.
Their first job was paying off the £237million owed to major creditors Royal Bank of Scotland – ruling out any threat of the club’s holding company being put into administration.
They inherited a club, unthinkably, in the Premier League’s bottom three with six points from their opening seven matches during the short-lived reign of Roy Hodgson.
Sustained investment in the squad and infrastructure has elevated the American group to the highest point of their ownership, with the club posting £125m record profits – re-invested back into the squad even before the financial results were announced in February – winning the Champions League and starting this season brilliantly.
It has not all been plain sailing with walk-out protests over ticket price rises in 2016 and a recent issue over the failed attempt to trademark the word ‘Liverpool’ but on-field success has appeased fans.
“From a prestige perspective it (the Champions League victory) kind of gets us back to where we once were in what we liked to call ‘European royalty’, so the impact is massive,” said Moore.
“When we look at the health of the club our revenues have doubled in the last five years and been reinvested back into the squad. We have steadied the ship from some dark days nine years ago.
“We take great pride in our business model: a self-sustaining football club.
“Simply, you drive revenues as best you can to invest on the pitch and that investment on the pitch pays off and global sponsors and advertisers want to be a part of that.
“They continue to give the football club revenue which will again drive investment on the pitch and we win more games.
“It is a virtuous cycle and that is the modern business model for high-performing football clubs: invest, invest, invest for success.
“Yes, we had that headline, £125million, but all of that money, by the time we had announced that, had been reinvested in players like Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Naby Keita and Fabinho. But the club is in fine shape financially.
“I think, as you saw from Jurgen’s comments, he has the squad he likes and we have locked this squad up on long-term contracts, which is important.
“He has built the chemistry and these players are content, motivated and excited to win – not just for Jurgen and the coaching staff but for the people of Liverpool and broader global fanbase.”
Know more about Sport360 Application
Sadio Mane enjoyed a double milestone in his Liverpool career as he inspired them to a dramatic 17th successive Premier League victory.
The Senegal striker marked his 100th league appearance for the club with his 50th goal – and was then brought down for an injury-time penalty that James Milner put away for the winner.
Until then, the Reds had been largely frustrated by Leicester as former boss Brendan Rodgers looked to mastermind an upset on his return to Anfield.
He was given warm applause by the Liverpool fans, but his side left with nothing to show for their efforts.
Mane’s 40th-minute opener saw Milner send an inch-perfect long ball behind Jonny Evans and there was the forward to race clear and calmly finish past Kasper Schmeichel.
As the hosts failed to take chances, including one for Andy Robertson that he thumped at Schmeichel, the Foxes levelled in the 80th minute when Ayoze Perez found James Maddison and he fired past Adrian.
But they were denied a battling point when Marc Albrighton failed to clear and caught Mane. Milner stepped up for the spot-kick to maintain their 100 per cent start and extend their lead over Manchester City to eight points.
With Mo Salah hurt and taken off after a shocking late challenge by Hamza Choudhury, the game was soured too by a post-match bust-up involving Perez.
LESSONS LEARNED AS LEADERS SHOW QUALITY
It was this corresponding fixture last January that shaped the outcome of the Premier League title race. Liverpool slipped up with a 1-1 draw and allowed Manchester City to gain momentum for the comeback that eventually crowned them champions.
This encounter was an example of how Jurgen Klopp’s men have grown and learned from the harsh lessons of the past. The Foxes offered similar resistance, levelled with a good goal to cause anxiety in the Anfield cauldron.
But Liverpool showed greater patience and focus to claim a crucial victory on this occasion. Their Champions League success has given them the platform and belief to have faith in their ability – and to show no fear, no panic even when the situation looks desperate.
The best in Europe are now showing all the attributes needed to be the best in the Premier League.
MANE TAKING HIS GAME TO GREATER HEIGHTS
With the game goalless, Ben Chilwell raced down the left in space and there was concern among the Anfield faithful over a Leicester opportunity when out stretched the leg of Mane to leave the left-back in a crumpled heap.
It was a perfect tackle. But it was not the only time he did it and the perfect example of how Mane has developed his game to become a better all-round player. He was more defensive than offensive for the first half, bar the final five minutes when he scored the opener and then fired a chance at Schmeichel.
His work ethic to help out his backline was incredible and, allied to his appetite to cause destruction at the other end such as the key role in the penalty winner, his stock is rising more and more. Mane is fast becoming the fans’ favourite at Anfield and this display emphasises why.
TURKISH DELIGHT FOR THE FOXES
Given it was only his 12th league start, this was another indication of the impressive progress made by Caglar Soyuncu in the Leicester defence.
It was a mixed bag from the Turkish international early on. Careless passes, that put his team-mates under unnecessary pressure, combined with good positioning and quick feet to get himself out of trouble as the hosts pressed.
His decision making needs work, but he was robust and resilient throughout. What was also noticeable is how vocal the 23-year-old was, despite it being only his second season following the £19m move from German side Freiburg.
Harry Maguire was a commanding figure for the Foxes, but was shaped into the player he eventually became.
Leicester look like they have another rough diamond on their hands – and, as a mark of Soyuncu’s performance, Maguire was not missed.
English Premier League leaders Liverpool welcome Leicester City to Anfield on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp hopes his Leicester counterpart Brendan Rodgers receives a suitable reception, after almost winning the league with the Reds in 2014.
As for Klopp – he’ll be saying hello to his landlord.
“We love living there (in Rodgers’ property) and it’s all good. So we play all full rent for him. So I am not sure he has to work. but obviously he is still doing it,” said Klopp, whose side will be hoping to continue their perfect Premier League record so far this season with six wins out of six already.
“And he is doing really well there. I am not surprised about that. I knew it when I came here (to Liverpool) that he was not the reason that things didn’t work out.
“And since then he did an incredible job at Celtic, obviously, and now at Leicester.”
Watch what Klopp had to say in the video above.