By Nic Mason – @MrNickMason
When Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool Football Club, he said in his debut press conference that he wanted to turn doubters into believers, and these very words resonated with fans across the globe and changed the environment around not only the team but also the wider club.
I remember this day clearly – I had decided to leave my first job as a social media specialist and these words even worked for me. Fenway Sports Group decided for the betterment of the club, whilst it didn’t look to pay off in the short term, it did eventually. FSG are loved now.
In years gone by, under certain managers, we would be stuck in cycles of becoming close to winning the league, before floating away into mediocrity and being taken-over by another enthusiastic manager, and repeat.
But whatever happens in the closing stages of this season, whether we can score four or more goals past Barcelona at Anfield or whether Leicester are able to hold Manchester City to a draw, we have a lot of reason to be excited. This is only the beginning for this team. But we have to continue to believe, not doubt.
We have moved away from players with massively inflated egos, players who believe the team should be built around them, who eventually leave when another club comes calling for their services. We could associate a downturn in form to a franchise player leaving, for those unfamiliar with American Football, a player who you value most above all else.
The disappointing, the confusing and the betraying
Three names come to mind. Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho. All of whom do not deserve to be treated with such grace as a few in our fan base do.
They say nice things in the media about the club we support, but on the pitch it’s a very different story. They contributed to our team at some point, but their return wasn’t nearly as good as it should’ve been for players of their calibre.
Fernando Torres was perhaps the most disappointing. He was coming to the end of his time as a Liverpool player, honestly. His effectiveness in our team had dwindled in comparison to his electric form when he first joined. He and Gerrard always had a special connection though, which together was enough to instil fear into the opposition.
It seems to be a thing with forwards, because Luis Suarez was the next one – this was by far the most confusing. When we signed him from Ajax, it was seen as a giant risk. However, we had become used to seeing Andy Carroll in a Liverpool shirt, so anything was an upgrade
As expected, interest from other teams started coming, Arsenal put a bid in at a pound over his release clause and he issued a transfer request, which was vehemently denied.
It would only take a further year for Barcelona to come calling for his services, with a much bigger fee in comparison. He yet again issued a transfer request; however, it would also be with the caveat that if it was rejected, he would seek legal action to push the move through. Luis Suarez just wasn’t worth the whiskey.
The third and final name on the list, Philippe Coutinho, was the most betraying. We signed him during a very testing period in his career, this time almost saw his chances with a big club in Europe all but crushed.
Coutinho was on the fringes at Inter Milan and floated around a number of high-profile European clubs but was unable to make an impact sufficient enough for one of the teams to decide to keep him around. For £8.5m, the deal was a win/win for both parties.
It turned out to be a decent deal, Brendan Rodgers created the environment for him to succeed in a Liverpool shirt. Because of this, he played for a few years at a competitively high level in the Premier League. His head would then be turned by Barcelona.
Liverpool Football Club stood steadfast; they didn’t want to lose Coutinho to Barcelona as they had lost an aforementioned Uruguayan to them previously. The magician then pulled a fake back injury out of the hat and probably used WebMD to pull a fast one on the club doctors.
He missed several crucial games for Liverpool, which could’ve been costly. After the transfer window had closed, his back had miraculously recovered. It was as if he was never actually injured, who would’ve thought it.
January rolled around and the injury returned with venom, keeping him out again. Barcelona offered an eye watering sum and he was on his way, with Coutinho fronting some of the transfer fee himself.
It’s understandable for some to have criticisms about Liverpool ‘bottling’ the League and the Champions League, but it’s unfounded. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction to a very raw feeling. If the final two premier league games are won, we finish on 97 points – one heck of a season.
In previous years, that total would have been enough to secure the title. Comparatively, we have been at back-to-back Champions League semi-finals which is another huge achievement, we’re one of the best clubs in Europe!
Believe in this team, believe in our manager and believe in our owners. Our club is in such a healthy situation. Rival fans want to be us and top-class players want to play for us again, but they would have to fit a certain criteria. They must be a Klopp player.