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Moore's law? Why Man Utd (& City) can learn from Liverpool - on & off pitch

COMMENT: A smack for Manchester City. A clip for Manchester United. In an expansive interview this week, Peter Moore, Liverpool's chief exec, didn't miss...

Okay, okay, there's just a little poetic license here. But while Moore's intentions weren't to run down any rival - just as Liverpool sit at the highest point they've reached in this FSG/Klopp era - it's no stretch to make comparisons with what the Reds are achieving against their peers. Even more so when you consider how they're going about it.

As Moore was eager to highlight, "We feel good about the club in its entirety and we don't compare ourselves with any other football club", which is fair enough. Though it must be said, this interview was coming just a week or so after his "back on our perch" dig at United and Sir Alex Ferguson.

This is sport. Football. An industry where competition - and comparisons - run throughout. Moore can offer a bit of false modesty, but he's not foolin' anyone. A pat on the back. Some self congratulation. For what they've managed on and off the pitch, the club deserves it.

"When we look at the health of the club our revenues have doubled in the last five years and been reinvested back into the squad. We have steadied the ship from some dark days nine years ago," said Moore.

"We take great pride in our business model: a self-sustaining football club."

Are you watching Man City? PSG? This column mentioned the same last week. Liverpool have shown clubs can find a way to beat their state-funded opposition. They're not quite there yet at home - though are well on their way. But in Europe they've proved them all wrong. Instead of moaning like the adidas-backed Bayern Munich, Liverpool just got on with it. They worked to a plan. Put the right team and staff together. And reached the summit. What's more they're in a position to sustain this success.

As Moore says: "Simply, you drive revenues as best you can to invest on the pitch and that investment on the pitch pays off and global sponsors and advertisers want to be a part of that.

"They continue to give the football club revenue which will again drive investment on the pitch and we win more games.

"It is a virtuous cycle and that is the modern business model for high-performing football clubs: invest, invest, invest for success."

"Virtuous" (so maligned in this social media era) is a decent word to use. Because Liverpool have gone about their work with a focus on football. And as much on the pitch, the reward has also been seen in the bottom line.

At the beginning of the year, it emerged Liverpool had broken the world record for the biggest pre-tax profit of any football club in history. This wasn't achieved by matching Florentino Perez's Galacticos at Real Madrid. Nor was it done by copying Ed Woodward's approach and sticking a Manchester United badge on any bit of tat it's producers are willing to offer.

Jurgen Klopp, as Reds manager, has no interest in buying big, established names. And Liverpool aren't known to trumpet their official tyre or whisky 'partner' to a disinterested supporter base.

Instead, these revenue records have been achieved by what we're all involved in this game for: the football. Not even winning football - that first record-breaking revenue result arriving three months before Madrid and Champions League glory. No gimmicks. No state cash. Just good football played by a set of likeable players. And with a determination - as Moore says - to maintain this cycle.

Referring to those past cash figures, Moore explained: "Yes, we had that headline, £125million, but all of that money, by the time we had announced that, had been reinvested in players like Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Naby Keita and Fabinho."

In this era of plc's and state-funded buyers, Liverpool have bucked the trend. Yes, owners FSG have deep pockets, but there's no smoke and mirrors here. As Klopp has acknowledged, all that squad investment a year ago meant Liverpool having to reign in their spending last summer. Yet, through canny squad management, they've still managed to maintain their momentum.

That's not to say there's not pitfalls waiting in the future. And that's when the real test of this Liverpool model will be seen. Ever since Klopp took charge four years ago of a tenth-placed Liverpool, the place has always been on the up. The biggest challenge, for every individual inside LFC, will come when those inevitable stumbles occur.

But in the meantime, back on their perch, Liverpool deserve the plaudits for the way they've managed to achieve - on and off the pitch. And if it offers them the chance to have a dig at City - or particularly United - then who could begrudge that...?

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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