Former World Cup and European Championship winner Emmanuel Petit has hailed Liverpool’s current side as superior to Arsenal’s 2004 ‘Invincibles’, despite playing alongside several members of the latter team.
The 63-cap France midfielder was a team-mate of the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Martin Keown during his time with the Gunners, who famously completed a whole Premier League season without being beaten 16 years ago. However, Petit feels that Jurgen Klopp’s current Reds crop are an even better side than Arsene Wenger’s vintage.
He told The Mirror: “I have huge respect for my old team-mates, but when I look at Liverpool, and what they have been doing for the past two years. People are looking at them now because last year they won a European trophy, but really they have been like this for the past two or three years. It’s amazing what they are doing – it is rare to see a team winning so many games and being so dominant against their opponents all the time.
“They were both great teams in history, but for me this Liverpool team have something special. It is hard to explain what I feel when I look at Liverpool, but I don’t remember thinking the same way when I was looking at the Invincibles. They have impressed me more than Arsenal’s Invincibles. I am pretty sure Arsenal fans won’t be happy with that. But I have to be honest. When I look at this team, the motivation, the intensity, so many talented players. Something is different with them.”
For Petit, who played alongside some of the ‘Invincibles’, to claim that Liverpool’s current side are a better team than that Arsenal crop is quite a ringing endorsement of the standards that Klopp’s men have set and there are some justifiable reasons to support the 49-year-old’s grandiose statement.
He made reference to the Reds’ success in Europe and also rightly pointed out that the Champions League triumph in Madrid last year was no bolt from the blue, with the Merseysiders also reaching the final 12 months previously. By contrast, Arsenal only made it to the quarter-finals in the competition in 2004, when they were eliminated by London rivals Chelsea. Indeed, the Gunners have only been in one European Cup final in their history and that ended in a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in 2006 (as per TransferMarkt).
Petit is correct in saying that Liverpool have been steadily improving in recent seasons, as evidenced by their domestic record. From fourth-place finishes in 2016/17 and 2017/18, the Reds finished second last year with a tally of 97 points, seven more than Arsenal managed in their 2003/04 title triumph. Klopp’s team are on course to do even better this season, with an emphatic 25-point lead as a result of winning 27 out of 29 Premier League matches so far.
That is one more win than the Gunners recorded in their ‘Invincibles’ league campaign, which ended with 90 points, 73 goals scored and 26 goals conceded. After 29 games of the current season, Liverpool have 82 points, 66 goals scored and 21 goals conceded. If those averages are maintained to the end of the campaign, they will finish the season with 107 points, 86 goals scored and 27 conceded. Also, the Reds put together 18 consecutive league wins between October’s draw at Old Trafford and February’s defeat at Watford – Arsenal’s longest winning streak in the 2003/04 Premier League spanned nine matches.
Liverpool won’t emulate the Gunners’ unbeaten league season this time around and are yet to secure the Premier League title, something that Arsenal managed thrice in seven years during Wenger’s peak. However, when you look at what Klopp’s team have done over the past couple of years, you could well understand why Petit feels that the Merseysiders have such a special team at this moment in time.
Liverpool fans, what did you make of Petit’s claim about Klopp’s current team being better than Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’? Share your views in the comments section below!