It is rare that a runner-up will be regarded with the same level of fondness and esteem as the side who beat them to the prize.
As the saying goes, second is just first loser, and yet for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, it feels as if they are more than your average second-placed side.
This season has been a whirlwind at Anfield. 97 points, one defeat, a shedload of goals; the Reds have done themselves proud with an imperious crack at dethroning one of the greatest teams ever to grace the English game.
And yet, it still wasn’t enough.
Pipped on the final day by a resounding Manchester City win over Brighton, the wait for a league title on Merseyside will go on for another year.
But that doesn’t mean that this Liverpool side isn’t still a great one.
Graeme Souness summed things up pretty well in the aftermath of the Reds’ disappointment on Sunday.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “This is a fabulous Liverpool team, and I can’t tell you in my lifetime where you have such an outstanding runner-up.
“I liken it to the World Cup in 1982 and Brazil. They were the best team never to win the World Cup. This Liverpool team is the best team not to win the Premier League. They have been fantastic all the way through.
“They are a team without a weakness, but they just drew one game too many and that ultimately cost them.”
Souness is bang on the money. To liken a team to that Brazil side of ’82 is some statement, but you have to say that he makes a valid point.
If it wasn’t for a freakishly good Manchester City team, we would be celebrating one of the finest Premier League winners of all time.
The fact that we’re not is less a reflection on Liverpool, and more a reflection on Pep’s men.
This Reds’ side is still great, regardless of whether or not they won the Premier League this year, and what is more, you get the impression that their greatness might only just be beginning.