Hate Expectations: Why Klopp's Cool is Essential
“If there’s not drama and negativity in my life, all my songs will be really wack and boring or something.” – Eminem.
I like Eminem. I really do.
Hidden ironies, duplicitous meanings and hyperbolic analogisms are all things I enjoy. But when these lyrics conspire to become comparative with the future, the lyrics remain relevant and can reach levels of genius.
As Liverpool fans we have grown accustomed to being disappointed. Like Palestine in the era of Second Temple Judaism, there is an overwhelming sense of expectancy – a desire to latch-on to anything positive and install it as a solution to our current problems.
This sense of expectancy – particularly under the Roman occupation of Palestine – led to a heightened belief that the Messiah would arrive soon; allowing for a surge in the number of people claiming to be this Messiah and capitalising on the prevalent sense of imminent salvation.
The way many of us have reacted to Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager carries similar overtones. Always used to disappointment; always hoping for someone or something to alleviate it, and jumping on the closest thing to it.
And yet, we’re not happy. A sense of anti-climactic feeling permeates our fan-base. Klopp has come-in, managed three games and lost none. Win our next 3 games and we’ll have taken an average of 1.8 points a game having gone away to Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, Man City and Stoke – just short of the average points-total required to reach Champion’s League football.
To draw 0-0 with Tottenham at White Hart Lane after 4 days’ training; to draw 1-1 in the Europa League after a further 4 days’ training and to draw 1-1 to a Southampton team with a stronger (fit) squad than ours after 2 days’ training, all within two weeks of being Liverpool manager in a new League and in a new country: this is the perspective we need.
It took Klopp 3 seasons to win the Bundesliga, and we’re acting as if he needs to be winning every game he manages at Liverpool, a week-and-a-half into his tenure (an unfair request of anyone at any time, let alone now).
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” – D Miller.
Expectation is a strange thing. It admires. It discredits. It demands. It refuses. It gives people jobs. It gets people sacked. Klopp is no different.
Klopp was only a hero at Mainz and Dortmund because he defied expectations.
If we, instead, deify expectations then we are marking him out for failure.
We are at risk of giving Klopp the impossible job: repeating the Dortmund miracle within a time-frame half as long.
Our idolisation of Klopp has become not a beacon of hope; but a noose. Like the riddle of the hung-man over a pool water; we are standing on our own block of ice, waiting for it to melt, suffocating slowly, inch by inch, drop by drop.
We’ve entered a kind-of carousel-universe where the same issues keep returning again and again, regardless of who’s playing or who’s managing. The same ugly heads rotating on the fair-ground horror-wheel.
We need to get off the carousel and enter the parallel – where Liverpool are good and we’re no longer queuing-up to board the Log-Flume of Despair.
“I’m so sick and tired of being admired that I wish that I would just die or get fired.” – Eminem.
Klopp has suffered from expectation since he came to the Club. Despite his best efforts to calm these expectations – and despite requesting explicitly for us to not expect miracles; we are still behaving in a way that thrusts expectation upon him.
German banners and Klopp merchandise everywhere. LFC sponsors lighting-up the Anfield advertising boards with messages like “Cream of the Klopp,” as if Klopp is the only reason to support our team.
All of this for a guy who hasn’t achieved anything yet at Liverpool. Imagine. Jurgen was under pressure before he was even linked with this job. Three games in, undefeated, and already the nerves are spreading.
When Liverpool fans learn to be patient; when we stop complaining about pressure on our players and managers, and then continuing to pile it on them because of our own insecurities as a fan-base; when we begin to learn that, actually, the pressure should be on us to perform – to support our team, our players, our manager at all costs; then we can – maybe – begin to be justified in our criticisms. But, until then, we need a long, hard look in the mirror.
We will only deserve Jurgen Klopp as our manager when we become the sort of fans that can support Jurgen Klopp as our manager.
To do what he says. To drop expectations. To enjoy the thrill of the ride for what it is. A new manager. A new era. A new Liverpool.
In the words of Rammstein, “Du hast mich,” Jurgen. “Du hast mich.”