Premier League: There’s only one asterisked moment from this season – but it’s not Liverpool’s title

There was never a rational argument for pretending that the 29 rounds of games played up to March did not exist and wiping them from the record books. The bleating from West Ham United, Aston Villa and the relegation-threatened null and void crew was driven solely by self-interest and undermined any sense of competitive integrity. It would have been perfectly understandable, in the midst of a national crisis, if the decision would have been taken to end 2019-20 early – as with Leagues One and Two – and find some sort of formula to determine finishing positions. This was not what Karren Brady and her ilk wanted; the West Ham vice-chairman and her allies were trying to use the emergency to ring-fence theirpositions in the Premier League. So maybe we should asterisk the bottom six and add a note explaining how some clubs would have preferred not to play because they thought they could wangle a free pass into the next Premier League season, presumably at the expense of the Championship promotion hopefuls. They were driven by naked self-interest rather than concern for the wellbeing ofplayers, staff, fans, the nation or the game. The worst, most disingenuous argument states that games behind closed doors undermine Liverpool’s achievement. No wonder rival fans want to demean Liverpool’s feats as ‘tainted.’ It allows them to conveniently ignore the staggering levels of underachievement by the trailing pack. Chelsea, given their limited expectations last summer, can feel satisfied with progress under Frank Lampard. Klopp’s first-team squad could probably remain at home watching on TV like the fans and let the kids pick up thesix points they need. It should go against Watford’s name and the footnote might read: ‘The only team to beat the runaway league leaders before the pandemic interrupted the season.’ Whatever happens now, Liverpool’s achievements between August and February were immense.