By Lewis Rooke – @LV_Rooke
Champions of Europe – just read that and take it in. After a campaign in which a brilliant Liverpool side looked as if they were going to end without anything to show for it, Jurgen Klopp’s men have finally and deservedly claimed the prestigious prize that their performances have warranted.
Yet this season has been more than just a trophy win. It’s one of progression, it’s one of passion that is unparalleled in its uniqueness. It’s a group of lads all singularly focused on one specific goal: To win. It’s these factors that have brought such a bond between the fans and the players to an extent we’ve never truly experienced before, where supporters feel almost as close to these boys as they do their own family, and that is thanks to Jurgen Klopp.
Having arrived at Anfield in October 2015 following a heroes send off from his former club Borussia Dortmund, the German arrived with a reputation as a a lovable motivator. Renowned around the footballing world as the mastermind that toppled the great Bayern Munich twice in the Bundesliga and shaking Real Madrid to its core in the Champions League, the first few months of his reign at Anfield were ones of fans saying: “Wow, we’ve got Dortmund’s manager”. That was the line, up until Liverpool came face to face with the Germans in the Europa League at home.
As I was sat in the Kop that day, all the fanfare was about the romanticism of Klopp returning to his former side – and I’ll admit, I bought into it. That was right up until Liverpool staged one of the most incredible European nights Anfield has ever seen in its illustrious history. As the Kop roared and bounced with such ferocity, I saw the tide change. Jurgen was no longer theirs, he was ours. He wasn’t the former Borussia Dortmund manager, he was Liverpool’s – and he was taking us places.
Even then, that would have been the moment that Klopp knew that the job he took was a truly special one. And he grasped it with both hands, building a team full of truly committed personnel in the following transfer windows as the fans started to fall deeply in love with their team. Players who would die for the badge, who would drip every ounce of sweat if it means winning.
Having lost the final in Kiev last year as well as losing out ever so narrowly to Manchester City in the Premier League having recorded 97 points, you could almost forgive players for taking that to heart. Not this Liverpool side though. They have risen up off the canvas and delivered a knockout blow to all of Europe, and there is no sign of letting up.
To put this truly in perspective, you only have to look over at the mess that is Manchester United currently. Having endured an extremely poor season finishing sixth, you’d expect the players to be somewhat ashamed or even motivated to put right the wrong. Oh no. Instead, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford defended their turgid season by posting the caption “0.012%” on social media – and this is where Liverpool and Manchester United are polar opposites.
The number “0.012%” relates to the amount of young players who will make it to the professional game. Instead of defending their season, they have instead opted to shield their own pride above all else with this incorrect notion that they are exempt from criticism because they have made it to the Premier League. The are resting on their laurels and wallowing in their own self pride, whereas contrary to this Liverpool are fired up by their own lessons.
As mentioned before, Jurgen Klopp has not only crafted the perfect player mentality, but the fans have also truly bought into it. This is predominantly evident in the songs from the terraces. You see other teams and they have the usual cardboard cutout songs, like Spurs for instance with “when the Spurs go marching in”, as well as Chelsea with their incredibly inventive “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea” chant.
You even see other clubs adopting our very own Allez Allez Allez nowadays. The lack of originality around the league is indicative of how disengaged the fans can be, resorting to lowest common denominator chants that every single team use – barring the wording of their own team.
This is where Liverpool are a different breed. With countless original and traditional club songs such as “poor Scouser Tommy” as well as the virtually endless songs for individual players in the team (with some players lucky to have several songs), there are few sets of fans in world football who rival us for being so imaginative.
With huge credit to Jamie Webster and BOSSNight for help in popularising these songs, fans have rung ears all over Europe with their passionate, deafening renditions. From Kiev to Madrid, they have brought Liverpool fans together in such a way that has helped culminate in such glory.
This has all been made possible by Jurgen Klopp and his men, for truly turning us from doubters into believers since he took over the reigns. He took on a severely leaking ship and now we are truly riding the crest of the highest of waves, and long may it continue.
We’ve conquered all of Europe? You damn well bet we have.