Mention Liverpool potentially winning the Premier League title to some Reds supporters, and they will turn into quivering wrecks. The thought of Jordan Henderson holding that trophy aloft almost seems too much to comprehend, and their defensive side takes over.
“Don’t jinx us”; “It’s still very early days”; “We’ve blown it so many times before, so we won’t win it”.
There seems to be a concerted effort to downplay Liverpool’s chances from a fair chunk of the fanbase, simply because they have not always been particularly good since the 1990s came along. Predictably, it is those who lived through the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s who are coming out all guns blazing – a confidence engrained in them that those Reds under the age of about 35 can only dream of having when it comes to football. They know what winning a league title feels like. They know what it’s like to fear nobody and be English football’s main powerhouse.
Those of a younger persuasion need to forget all about the negativity and heartache that has come before, and realise that it is completely irrelevant as far as the current team is concerned.
For this is now a very different Liverpool. This is a Liverpool with one of the world’s finest managers in charge – a manager who, in 12 months, has turned the Reds from mediocre to the most in-form team in the country.
Jurgen Klopp is already looking one of the club’s most important figures of the last 30 years, and the side he is building couldn’t be further from the timid, lifeless outfit that he inherited from Brendan Rodgers in October 2015.
Many of the players he has at his disposal toiled under the Ulsterman, but they now look like entirely different animals. Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino – the list goes on.
This is a group who have had a winning mentality instilled in them, and not for one second are they thinking about the failed times they once endured in a Liverpool shirt. They fully believe they can rip any team to shreds, and on the evidence provided this season, they are correct in adopting that mindset.
Our footballing heroes have done their job, in terms of overcoming the negativity and realising the past doesn’t matter, and it is time for us fans to do the same. Stop fearing what might happen, and embrace what a fantastic time this is to be a Reds supporter. Who cares that we fell away in the 90s? Why does it matter that we didn’t quite win the title in 2001/02, 2008/09 and 2013/14?
We – by which I include myself – need to simply look at what is unravelling before our very eyes, and realise that this Liverpool side has as good a chance of lifting that Premier League trophy next May as anyone.
The Reds sit top of the table, and it is fully merited. The quality of football has been phenomenal at times; good teams are being dispatched with ease; there are week-long breaks between matches and Klopp has built a squad as imposing as any Liverpool have had in the Premier League era. Defensively they aren’t exactly Atletico Madrid, and this is a young side still maturing in facets of their play, but there should be nothing to fear, especially when it concerns those around them at the top.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all have flaws of their own that have already been exposed, and Liverpool have taken eight points from four of those teams, with City the only side Klopp’s men are yet to face.
This is not to say that those rivals are not talented outfits capable of going on unbeatable runs themselves – Liverpool have not lost in 12 matches, in all competitions – but they have not impressed as consistently and emphatically as the Reds so far this season.
City looked formidable at one point early on in the campaign, but Liverpool are on another level right now. Much as they may hate to admit it, rival supporters will be very fearful of the Reds – more so than any other team. Liverpool thrive on momentum more than most, and at the moment, they have it in abundance.
“Stop saying all this, you’re getting too carried away.”
I can hear some of you from here.
Liverpool fans are famed for being an emotional bunch, and we love nothing more than overly-praising our beloved Reds. We also overly-criticise them, which isn’t helpful.
But this is different. As someone known the world over as an almighty pessimist when it comes to the Reds, I’ve never felt this confident about winning the league. Not in 01/02, 08/09 or even in 13/14, when deep down I always felt Jose Mourinho would spoil our party.
This doesn’t mean the Reds will definitely win it – there is every chance they won’t – but it is time to stop worrying about making bold predictions and being made to look foolish.
The many false dawns over the last 20-odd years have been painful, and they have no doubt affected the Liverpool-supporting self-esteem of some. This is a new era, however, and one that feels very different to most.
On the pitch, the players look like potential title-winners, full of arrogance, class and an imposing aura – it’s time we take a leaf out of their book and start believing this is the beginning of something magical.