After some mid week European action, the Premier League was back in action and as usual there’s plenty to talk about.
The only thing that is good about hindsight is the fact that it is already over! Is it safe to assume that the dark clouds over Anfield Road have drifted away?
Turn the clock back by about eight years when things were not so bright. Liverpool had owners who dug a grave and slowly lowered our coffin into the ground.
The club lost one of its most successful managers and a number of exceptionally talented players and ran up a debt as high as the Himalayas.
During our dark days, the Manchester Uniteds and Manchester Citys of the league were fighting for titles and trophies, Arsenal were consistently getting fourth place and Chelsea were in the top four with a title or two.
And where were we? We were hoping against odds that we show some strong performances and string three wins together, only to lose the fourth game to a team with the meagre hope of staying alive in the league.
It was our White Knight ‘Fenway Sports Group’ that saved us from misery and plight. Other than giving us financial stability during a period where our rivals had buckets of money, stronger teams and let’s face it, larger ambitions, they also invested money in the expansion of Anfield.
Roy Hodgson came and went, King Kenny graced the touchline once again and then happened Brendan Rodgers. Many disliked the Irishman, but I was a fan of his technical ability, not so much of his man management skills.
Reign of Brendan Rodgers – switching between bravado and limpidness
Season after season we showed downright mediocrity. With every negative result Manchester United fans gloated in our faces, mocking and laughing at us. (Psst, how does it feel now guys?), something we Reds were not used to.
Except for the one season under Brendan Rodgers where we finished second. Oh boy, what a season that was! Things were still in turmoil.
Players were not attracted to us, we were not splashing money the way our rivals were. The pieces of the puzzle just were not fitting.
After the 2013-14 season we believed that the dark clouds had finally passed and it was time for the sun to shine on Anfield.
But no, we lost three of our most important players in the form of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling.
The one loss that hurt more than the rest was parting with the club Captain, SG8! His song still reverberates around Anfield.
Things were back to mediocre and not looking so great. We finished sixth and eighth in the subsequent seasons. The dismal performances saw Rodgers’ reign come to a grinding halt.
Enter our Messiah – Jurgen Klopp
October 8, 2015 Klopp signed a three year deal to manage Liverpool. Everyone was buzzing. The fans knew that this coupe finally meant that a ‘big’ manager who has excelled with Borussia Dortmund can salvage the pieces of this sinking ship.
He brings passion to the pitch, sending shivers down the spine of the opponents with his touch-line shenanigans. His hugs are known to put on a smile on the grimmest of faces. (Jose Mourinho could do with one of them just about now!)
He brings alive the inner swagger in the players. At the same time he is a no-nonsense manager. If you do not believe me ask Mamadou Sakho himself.
His reign began in fine fashion, a 0–0 away draw against Tottenham Hotspur. Followed by his first win as manager beating Bournemouth in the League Cup to progress to the quarter-finals.
His first Premier League win came a few days after, away from home in a 3–1 win at Stamford Bridge. He even got Christian Benteke to score!
Things were looking on the up. We hammered Manchester City 4-1, then we blew Manchester United away in the Europa League quarter-finals. Followed by a blistering game that saw us come from behind to beat his former club Dortmund.
Klopp lead us to two cup finals in less than six months at the club. He ignited a fire, a desire, a hunger within the players to give it their all.
Agreed that last season ended drab, with no European leagues to participate in, however the last time that happened we finished second. Well, the last six months of the season that just concluded was just a trailer of what we can expect.
The new season started with a grilling pre-season a few amazing acquisitions in the form of Sadio Mane, Joel Matip, Loris Karius and a few others. The window saw us let go of a lot of players and send quite a few on loan too. But we know all of that already don’t we!
The fans and the team feel like a large happy family. Most importantly, there is some direction.
Our Captain, Jordan Henderson is drastically improving. Dejan Lovern who had a dismal season two years ago has turned his career around. Adam Lallana has become a linchpin in our attacking moves.
We are set-up to do well under our no-nonsense manager. One who believes in fixing issues with long term solutions rather than quick fixes, like a 120 million spend.
A manager who treats players like his very own rather than bad-mouthing them publicly. One who backs his players in the dark times and gives them bear hugs unlike some who may want to snap fingers to get their players to perform!
This season has started with a lot of resemblance to the 2013-14 season. 10 points from 5 games, no European distractions, a team playing with a spark, a locker-room brethren, that many are jealous.
Liverpool have created more chances than any team has so far in the season. Yes I am aware that we are six five games in, but it still clearly embraces the fact that we have improved.
Liverpool have completed more passes than any other team, 3,625 to be precise. And not to forget, Henderson, that strike against Chelsea, something dreams are made of.
He has also been working his socks off. He has made 26 tackles (second in the league so far), 499 passes (league high). He is finally showing signs of filling the boots once worn by someone who stood 6 feet tall and hard, shot the ball in from 40 yard, Steve Gerrard, Gerrard!
With 32 games to go, 17 of which will be at home. With us having played three of the top teams away bagging seven of nine available points, beating the champions, there is a feverish expectation among the fans.
The frenzy is back, Anfield is as noisy as ever, if things go on the way they are one thing I can say for certain is that Bill Shankly would be proud!
Klopp for the Kop! YNWA!