Man City have moved within five European Cups of Liverpool after Pep Guardiola’s side won the Champions League after beating Inter Milan in Istanbul.
All it took was hundreds of millions of dollars, 15 years of resources bigger than any other side, and the inevitable has happened: Manchester City are now champions of Europe.
Pep Guardiola had only won the Champions League with Barcelona before this, but one of the greatest coaches of all time has now got that unwanted wait out of the way — five more European titles without reply and Manchester City will match Liverpool.
There is a balance to be struck: Guardiola and the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are brilliant, but there was a sense of inevitability about Manchester City’s Champions League duck being broken. Eventually, it will be the same for Newcastle United.
Not only does the Champions League victory mean that Manchester City have done what it — and its owners — desired the most, but it has also completed the treble, matching Manchester United’s achievement in 1999.
It is no coincidence that Manchester City have managed that in a season where Liverpool have been well below par, however. The reasons and explanations for the Reds’ poor form have been gone through endlessly and are obvious.
The fact remains, though, that Manchester City would have won even more — and even more comfortably — had it not been for the strength of Jürgen Klopp’s side over the past few seasons.
Manchester City have had a stranglehold on the Premier League title generally in recent times, with Liverpool winning once and coming within a point twice. Arsenal tried to compete this season, but Guardiola’s men only needed 89 points to be champions.
Perhaps had Liverpool been in their usual condition, Manchester City would have won the title anyway, and squeezed out enough points to narrowly lead the race — you can never tell.
What we do know is that Liverpool is the only team that have stopped the Premier League from becoming a procession in recent years, and the other trophies too.
It also seems most likely that it will need to be Liverpool that will try to take some of the silverware back from Manchester City next season to stop the treble becoming a regular occurrence, at least as long as Guardiola is at the helm.
In England, it remains to be seen what Arsenal looks like next season. Manchester United and Newcastle would appear to be some way off contending at the current moment. Liverpool is the only team that has proven it has a high enough ceiling.
In Europe, Real Madrid will be back but there are few other major contenders for the Champions League, especially with Liverpool having dropped out of the top four.
Manchester City winning this particular trophy is new, but Manchester City dominating is not. The Reds know what must come next: when Klopp has new signings and a summer transfer window to improve, it will be over to Liverpool to do what it can to prevent a repeat as the only side that have proven itself capable to date.