Coming second with 97 points is irrelevant
Liverpool head into the final weekend of the Premier League knowing 97 points may not be enough to win the Premier League if Manchester City win on Sunday.
City, currently on 95 points, head to Brighton while Liverpool – a point behind – host Wolves at Anfield at the same time. Speaking to Eurosport, Paul Parker gives his verdict on the title race as it reaches its conclusion…
It doesn’t matter how many points you get, if you don’t win the league it’s irrelevant. Totally irrelevant.
People are saying Liverpool now have more points than when Manchester United won the Premier League. They want to give them a pat on the back but it’s absolutely ridiculous, it doesn’t matter how many points you’ve got – it’s about winning the title.
Those stats suggest you are up against poor opponents if you get two sides accumulating more than 95 points. That tells you the league is not as strong as perhaps what everyone thinks it is, or it tells us that teams are laying down and dying against the big boys and taking points everywhere else.
The only thing Liverpool can do is beat what’s in front of them. Everyone’s mind at Anfield will be on what’s going on with Manchester City, looking at the crowd and what their mood is regarding the other game.
But while you’re playing that game all you can do is win because it’s out of your control. The last thing you want is regrets if you are given the chance but you haven’t taken it.
A concern for Liverpool is that they're up against a team who perform well and get results against the big boys. It depends on Wolves’ attitude too – do they want the scalp of Liverpool? It has been the most promising season for a promoted side for many a season.
Daniel Sturridge, Jürgen Klopp, Divock Origi (Liverpool)Getty Images
This is Liverpool’s best attempt at getting close to a Premier League trophy. What they have gone and done is impressive, but that will get forgotten if they don’t win it.
Teams in the Championship and further down get a trophy in the play-offs, but that trophy is meaningless because you gained promotion after finishing outside the automatic spots.
The Premier League trophy goes to who was the best over nine months, not who was second best. Liverpool know that, but now that stats are glorifying everything, it has made it into a big thing. It means nothing finishing second. You go and tell those Liverpool players once the season is over, ‘Oh, fantastic season, you did great, you finished second’, they’ll say, ‘Okay, yeah, let’s move on and next season look to win it’.
That’s what people want to talk about. Winners. Liverpool players won’t want to hear about being unlucky missing out to City, especially as they might finish a point behind.
It’s all about winning.
Parker’s title-winning memories: You believe you’ll become immortal
For the majority of us at Manchester United, the 1992-93 Premier League was the first time winning a top division title. We were on a massive high; there was everything you want to call it, nerves, adrenaline, butterflies, because we had blown it the year before when Leeds won the old First Division.
We didn’t know how big that competition would become, it was a massive thing and United hadn’t won the league for 26 years.
You start believing in some ways you’ll become immortal for achieving that, but you don’t realise winning it once is never enough for a club like United.
Manchester United FA,Carling Premiership Champions 1993-1994Getty Images
United will always be about more than winning the title, particularly with the Champions League as well, so as you went on you realised it would not be enough, particularly with Sir Alex Ferguson in charge.
The build-up was more about Ferguson telling us it would have to be done, that we would become surplus to requirement because you would be deemed not good enough, no guts, cowards.
Brian McClair, Paul Parker and Ryan Giggs celebrate winning the Fa Carling Premiership in the dressing room following the FA Carling Premiership Match between Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford, Manchester on May 3, 1993Getty Images
That’s what it boiled down to. If you failed at the second time of asking you weren’t going to be good enough to play for Manchester United when trying to win the big prizes.
In certain ways, you could feel that. Winning trophies is what football is about.