In a different time, in another era
Liverpool go into the last game of the season this weekend with a 78% chance of amassing 97 points for the campaign – a haul that would have been sufficient to win 25 of the 26 titles on offer since the Premier League began. They’ve lost only one league match all season. And yet, the Reds go into this weekend with only a 21% chance of lifting the Premier League trophy.
Two months ago we wrote that Liverpool had only a 15% chance of amassing more than 95 points this season. Since then they’ve not dropped a point. Yet still, Manchester City go in to the final weekend with a 79% chance of retaining the title.
It must be hard for Liverpool to reconcile these numbers and yet this phenomenon is not uncommon in sport. Any elite tennis player or golfer born in the Federer or Tiger eras will no doubt reflect on a relatively modest trophy cabinet and wonder what could have been in a different time, in another era. In business too, the likes of Ask Jeeves and Dell might be forgiven for wondering what might have been in a world where Google and Apple hadn’t arrived on the scene and totally changed the game.
It’s not over until it’s over of course – Liverpool’s miraculous comeback against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday showed just how bonkers football can be – and there is still a 1 in 5 chance that the trophy will be lifted at Anfield this Sunday. Yet naturally we would then reflect on how City were unlucky not to be crowned champions, having themselves amassed at least 95 points this season. Either outcome will inevitably leave the runner-up utterly demoralised.
So what solace can ‘unlucky’ teams like Liverpool (or City) take from such a heartbreaking outcome?
At times like this, it can be useful to look beyond the league table and try to see the bigger picture; to focus on our own team’s progression and our performance against expectation. In the case of Liverpool, for example, a look at 21st Club’s World Super League model shows us the upward trajectory of the team over recent seasons – to the extent that they are now ranked 2nd in global football, second only to – you guessed it – Manchester City. At the start of the season, Liverpool were expected to tally around 81 points, yet they’ll ultimately finish with at least 94 points.
In helping Team Europe win golf’s Ryder Cup in 2018 our sister company, 15th Club, encouraged the Captain and players to focus on your own performance rather than the opposition and the result will take care of itself. This season, the Premier League has taught us that having a strong process won’t always guarantee the desired outcome, but – in the long-run – it will give you the highest probability of obtaining the desired result. And in football that’s all we can really do