At this point in my life, Liverpool Football Club has afforded more ups and downs than VIP pass in Alton Towers. I was fortunate enough to begin my footballing education during the 1980’s when Liverpool was dominant across Europe.
One of my earliest memories as a fan was watching some match in the early 80’s against Notts Forest and being confused as the Red team wasn’t Liverpool (we were wearing the yellow kit). I grew up on a diet of European triumphs and domestic league domination.
My only memories of the team I supported for the first 13 years of my life was that Liverpool finished first or second every season and every second year we play in the big game were the commentators sound like they are on the phone looking for my parents.
I did witness some of the worst disasters to befall the club off the pitch. An awakening as an eight-year-old that life is finite, reaffirmed again at 12.
The league title win in 1990 seemed to right the wrong of the horror show against Arsenal the previous season, so at no point did I ever think that 28 years later I’d still be waiting to witness any of our captains lift another league title.
The Arsenal capitulation more than anything has left an indelible mark on my psyche as far as support is concerned. Since then, I’ve forever dreaded the last 10 minutes of games where something is on the line.
I’m continually waiting for the inevitable Titanic-shape disaster to rock and do what can only really happen to Liverpool. Over the past 28 years we’ve witnessed some humdingers.
We’ve had the Evans run-in where David James forgot he could use his hands outside of James Bond Goldeneye. We’ve witnessed Alex Ferguson come from within 40 seconds of the sack to leading a charge by our arch-rivals which ultimately led to our league title haul being overtaken.
We’ve seen inexplicable collapses to PSG in the Cup Winners Cup when we were nailed on to reach the final.
Every five years we have a near miss where fate has continually conspired to cheat us of the elusive title.
In 08/09 Macheda scores his only two goals for United (may not be true) in a game that, if they had lost, would have almost guaranteed the title for us.
We then managed to draw 4-4 with Arsenal the only time Arshavin turned up in the Premier League.
In 13/14 we had the slip. You really couldn’t make it up.
This type of madness has now begun to sneak into our bread and butter – the Champions League – where a goalkeeper who’d solidified his Number 1 status decided to commit career suicide with two goals that would have taken any suspicions off Hans Segers for match-fixing back in the late 90s.
This is without even getting into the continual missing jigsaw pieces and the dismantling of near title ready sides on a Stalinesque five-year regularity. We’ve lost players who, at the peak of their game, have gone on to win European Cups and leagues with other clubs.
Why are you dampening my spirits and convincing me we are doomed to inevitable failure? Well, this is what drove me to write something for the first time in about two years.
Something is different about the club. Its simplistic to say its the Klopp effect but he’s so far managed to do what no manager before has done, which is build on progress season on season.
He’s had the fans onside ever since he admonished their support when leaving early to get home in time for Final Score. There is a true togetherness about the team that I haven’t seen at any other point since we last won a title.
Even under Rafa, the rumours of Stevie and Carra not being a fan of his cold managerial style were emanating while we reached European Cup Finals. I’m a football pessimist by nature due to the reasons I explained earlier but achieving top 4 on the bounce and seeing our progress under Klopp has even broken this down for me.
So what I’m about to write feels alien, strange and full of elation for a change.
So what does this mean for a large proportion of fans who have grown up in the period I’ve been fortunate/unfortunate to witness?
We can start to believe. I don’t fear the next game or result. I’ve stopped fundamentally questioning the manager and his decisions.
Yes, he won’t get all of them right but if he gets them right 80% of the time, his hit rate will ensure we win big. I can see what he is creating, his patterns of play, his A,B and C strategies for facing different situations.
I no longer dread seeing the team sheet thinking why is this yokel getting a game. Even players who previously could stay on their feet for longer than five seconds have become elite European level midfielders, integral to the energy and aggression this team plays with.
I’m not naive to think all signings will work out but the quality we are signing ensures that a 50% success rate will result in an extra 9 to 15 points per season.
Finally I look at my team and think this is not a one season hit – this is a multiple season plan to lift a league title.
Domestic cups are irrelevant. Only League titles and European trophies count for LFC – this is our USP and has been since the 1960’s.
A bastion of invincibility isn’t built on a devalued training cup but by proving you are the best in your national league and in Europe.
Of course, we will have moments where the doubts creep back in but, in an instant age, remembering that football is about context and it’s often hard to see context behind the drama of media be it social or traditional.
If you aren’t aboard the Klopp train at this point, it’s unlikely I can convince you to park up your troubles and take a leap of faith.
If Leicester with Ranieri can win a league title, a progressing side with a manager at the top of his game and a team bought into his structure and built in his tactical set up can achieve this.
This is the time. This is different. Believe and you can will it into existence.
I Believe that
I believe that we can win!!!!!!!!!!