Is this the man responsible for making Liverpool fans dream again?
Most of the country doubted and even dismissed the sense of anticipation and expectation that followed the appointment of Jurgen Klopp to Liverpool. It was just another example of romantic fiction at Anfield and an extension of that sense of entitlement to which Liverpool supporters have become accustomed.
The Messiah had arrived to address all those false dawns of recent times, and the world outside of Anfield remained cynical. Yet, no more than a few weeks later, there is a growing sense of excitement at the possibilities of this topsy-turvy season in which Chelsea find are near the bottom and Leicester City hitting the heights at the pinnacle of the Premier League.
Within this disordered world, there is a sense that any team finding their form could propel the hearts of their faithful towards a title challenge. Liverpool then could possibly defy all expectations from a few short months ago and throw their hat in the ring as outside bets for the biggest prize of all.
The fixture list after all, was heavily weighed against them in the opening two months. They had faced most of their major rivals by Halloween, and it was commonly accepted that the first dozen games of the 2015/16 season were always going to be tougher than the run up to the New Year.
After October, towards Christmas, the fixtures got easier and as such, present the team with possibilities for a march on the title. Everything that was wrong under Brendan Rodgers suddenly seems to be transformed and is going right under Jurgen Klopp. Divock Origi is scoring goals, Dejan Lovren has remembered how to defend, and Emre Can has transformed to a new combination of steel and style.
Added to that, it felt as if Rodgers couldn’t wait to throw off the shadow of Stevie Gerrard. Klopp on the other hand has welcomed him to train with the team and allows him to make statements about the present condition of the club. The former Dortmund man exudes confidence and that is spreading to the players and the fans.
Liverpool then are in a powerful position. Chelsea are lost and adrift at the foot of the table, weighed down by Mourinho’s apparent refusal to accept that they are in trouble. Manchester City should be in prime position but are struggling to perform with any consistency from match to match. Their noisy neighbours United are in no more powerful a position, seemingly impotent in front of goal and in need of the stimulant offered by Dutch strikers of the past whose records have been usurped by the form of Jamie Vardy.
Arsenal have also failed to grab hold of the opportunities offered by this topsy-turvy season, blowing hot and cold across all competitions. Tottenham also promise to deliver, but never quite do enough and you cannot shake the sense that this campaign will follow suit. Therefore, the onus seems to be on Liverpool this season to wrest attention away from Leicester’s table-toppers, and in Klopp they may just have found the man to do this.
Already he has brought the best out of players who shone briefly under Rodgers but always seemed handicapped by not quite giving enough as a team when it mattered. Individual failings cost Rodgers his job, whether that was Stevie Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea or his strikers’ failure to score in abundance at the start of this season. Klopp though has taken those failures and made them an inevitability that has to be overcome by a sense of team triumph in an almost Shakespearian manner of rising above flaws to achieve victories. Sometimes the margins are narrow, while others such as the 6-1 hammering of Southampton, are a form of poetry last seen when Suarez was in a red jersey.
Sure, there might be an element of the new managerial ‘bounce’ to all of this but he has his team performing and he has them doing well. In a season when nobody seems to want to drive out in front, they are all leaving the door open for somebody to sneak in from behind and capture the glories in 2016. That team; if recent form is a guide, could well be Liverpool. Once reliant on a few choice individuals they now look as if they can do the job with anybody available, as shown by their sudden abundance of scoring options.
Things are changing, and the tables are turning, maybe back to the way they used to be and almost were for one brief season under Rodgers. Liverpool are as safe a bet as anyone to take the league title at the end of this season if they believe in themselves. Good days lie ahead at Anfield. It just depends on how soon they come and whether they have left it too late for this season. I wouldn’t bet against it. There is a long way to go and if nobody else wants to grab that title with both hands, Klopp and the Anfield faithful are more than hungry for it.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Safraz Ali
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