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MARTIN SAMUEL: All Liverpool had to do to remain revered champions was not be a self-serving club like Manchester United... they failed by trying to sell English football out for a sack of cash

It was such a glorious opportunity for Liverpool. How did they blow it? They were more than just respected, more than just appreciated. They were revered, they were venerated, hell, they were even popular.

That’s the hardest trick of all for champions, certainly emphatic ones: to be liked.

Yet when Jurgen Klopp’s hard-working, quick-thinking, all-action team clinched the title last season, only the bitterest rival could begrudge them.

Liverpool were rare emphatic Premier League champions who were liked and revered

And all they had to do to remain right there, at the pinnacle of English football, was not be Manchester United.