The Case for Trusting Liverpool

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Maybe it’s because it’s been a while getting here, but if you believe Twitter, every day is a bit of a meltdown at Liverpool during this year’s title race.

I for one am being slightly cautious in this season’s race because it’s only just turned February. Sure, we’re clear at the top of the table, but I know things can change in the space a week or so at this stage. I’m not pessimistic, I’m just holding my horses. Having said that, I do allow myself to get excited during a game, or when City drop points (Thanks, Rafa) because, well, I’m a fan. And that’s what it’s all about.

Other Liverpool fans do act differently, though. They’re more highly strung and generally dramatic. That’s not a criticism as such (there’s no single way to support a club, no matter what the next person who disagrees with you says in reply to the next point you make) but merely an observation. We could blame the title race, or we could blame the higher stakes that we’re involved in recently with this manager, this side and this era. Every fall is harder, every point dropped is a greater distance conceded and every injury more devastating than the last. The stakes are great.

Liverpool fans, in this respect, are not alone. As viral videos dominate the internet we see more extreme versions of emotions by the hour. Arsenal Fan TV (occasionally), Paddy Power (often) and even Sky Sports News (usually) have become caricatures, reporting every piece of news or opinion as if both gospel and fact. And whilst our fanbase will never be free of being hypercritical (I class positivity in this as well as negativity), the recent history with Jurgen Klopp means that our side deserves a little better than we often give it. Our side deserves our trust.

As so often said, trust is a quality that is earned, not expected. Jurgen Klopp knew this when he joined the club in October 2015, when his famous “doubters into believers” line was first heard across the pages and pages of newspaper, forum and website. It was a good soundbite and a great summary of exactly what he needed to achieve if things were to change around Anfield.

Slowly, surely, Klopp hit markers in his quest to please Liverpool fans and deliver success back to the club. The link between the players and the fans became stronger, with the performances on the field helping, whilst a couple of cup finals (albeit on the wrong end of the result) proved to us that our side was on the right track. The following year we qualified for the Champions League once more, and last season continued that new tradition, whilst also reaching a third final under the German. Progress had arrived. Doubters were now believers.

But it is with believing that you get expectation. We now believe we expect to win. We believe and expect to compete. The stellar transfer business of the Klopp era is another way we’ve gone from doubters to believers after years or Stewart Downing’s and Paul Konchesky’s. We now always expect to improve. It’s a big club mentality, and that is what Liverpool have been missing for too long. But expecting everything for nothing makes a fanbase spoilt. And that’s not what this squad deserves.

Sometimes we need to trust. In a world of short-term thinking, to trust is to commit to something that sometimes goes against your general thinking. I, for one, am not happy that our defensive back-up may cost us, but Klopp, and the players he chooses to deputise deserve to be trusted, even if it is against what feels like my better judgement. Instead of being knee-jerk, I have to trust the side and the manager and the staff and the owners until they are proven wrong. Wrong not to have gone into the transfer market, wrong to have chosen a formation, wrong to have fallen short. We can’t only be believers when it suits us, then doubters when things get hard. At this stage of the season, we all need to pull in the same direction.

Trusting blindly is stupidity, and trusting with a lack of evidence is merely faith. But taking into account everything that this side has achieved to raise expectations, this trust is the type that has been earned and is warranted. So next time you see a selection you don’t like or when the going starts getting tough, remember that our club deserves a little better. So trust our manager to do what he does best, and our players to bring us success.

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  1. I can only trust what i saw and what i saw was our meltdown in 2 cup finals and for now how City is chasing us down and how Klopp refuses to reinforce the defense and how it spectacularly came back to haunt us, now.
    Yeap, i can see Klopp is good at improving teams but not actually winning anything, not for a long time anyway.
    Trust must be earned, start behaving like a winner to earn that trust for a start

  2. Dear Chan…if you thought for even a moment at the beginning of the season that we would be at the top of the table, (3 points ahead of City, 5 ahead of Spurs, 12 ahead of Chelsea, 14 ahead of the scum United) after 25 games, then you must have been in the delusional minority of our fans. And if you seriously did think so then it can only surely be attributed to the raised expectations and confidence that this manager has given you with his squad and playing style.

    My friend, we are punching way above our weight in being where we are. In the era of money, the financial firepower that City, Chelsea and United have means that they will always be favourites for the title. There will be rare moments when we can upset this form book but it is very much an uphill battle and guaranteed to never be a stroll in the park. Just look at the squad City have and tell me seriously that you thought we’d win the league?? Come off it dude.

    What you saw was a meltdown in 2 cup finals and how Klopp refuses to reinforce the defense? How do you explain VVD and Robertson and the development of Gomez and Trent? How much more reinforcing do you want on our budget? Who could we have bought in January that would have fitted immediately into the side and prevented the 4 goals going in? Don’t forget that we are still the best defensive side still in the premier league after 25 games. Isn’t that a reinforcing the defense to you?

    To say the squad/team/club doesn’t behave like a winner is to be extremely uncharitable as it takes nothing less than a winning mentality to reach 2 European and 1 domestic final and to be at the top of the league in February. All Klopp can do is to put the best team out on the field and prepare them as best he can. The rest is up to the players and involves huge doses of luck too.

    Will we win the league….who knows? That involves perseverance, an injury free squad and massive dollops of the aforementioned luck (eg vs. Everton). But enjoy the ride man. Sure we all want to win stuff. But it needs to be tempered with the reality of what we’re up against. We are a strong club and sustainable club now in many ways. We will regularly get into the Champions League and on our day we can beat the best in the world. That my friend has earned Klopp and the whole administration/ownership a massive vote of confidence and trust. If that’s not enough for your trust….then you’re supporting the wrong club my friend. You sound just like those cockamamie fans of the scum in Manchester.

  3. Dear Raghav, i would like to bring you back to a few years ago where Leicester won the league when no one expected them to do it. They had a rag tag small squad, not even comparable to ours let alone City or United but no one to them, not their own fans or manager said they had any right at all to even dream about winning and yet won it they did. They seized the moment, attacking when they should and defending when they should.
    For us, we gives ourselves to many excuses oh we did not have a big Arab sugar daddy like City does, so its ok even if we did not win it even though we were 7 points clear. We had a chance to go 7 clear in that City game, did we seize the moment? Klopp prioritise philosophy over trophies and this is the result, 3 points instead of 7 clear. See a pattern here my friend? Klopp is a very good coach, he is just not into winning titles thats all.
    Not reinforcing the defense is a travesty but actively weakening it? Where is Clyne now? Can we use him now? Absolutely?
    We would never win the league or any trophy of note, if our own fans and manager has ready made excuses why WE should not win it. Leicester never gave themselves this excuse and won it they did.
    Maybe you are brought up in a time of mediocrity and thinks finishing 4th is some sort of trophy but i started supported LFC in the 80s where winning trophies is in our DNA, the same DNA thar made US and United one of the most successful clubs, maybe in your eagerness to support Klopp, like him you had forgotten whats like to be a fan of one of the most successful clubs in Europe.
    Imagine Rafa gave the excuse that his squad was not his and not up to scratch in 2005, would he and the team made history then? Seizing the moment and be a winner thats what we need, not someone that is good at giving bear hugs and always finishing second or worse.

  4. Ahhh you brought out the Leicester argument. Tell me, how many Leicester-like league triumphs have there been since the advent of the EPL? Isn’t it by its very nature the epitome of a flash-in-the-pan story? And I hope you don’t bring up Blackburn as they were very well bankrolled at the time. When you hold up exceptions as a standard to be desired you tread on very thin ground my friend. I’d rather be the norm than a flash-in-the-pan exception like Leicester or Blackburn. Oh and I don’t need to tell you about how Leicester benefited from being the underdogs throughout the season do I? Cos that would be insulting. Its how we managed to win the 2005 Champions League and get to the final last year.

    We give ourselves too many excuses do we? So losing the league (which is not the case yet) to a squad that has Sterling, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Jesus and Danilo on the bench is a disgrace for you. Also you have probably forgottten that we finished 20 points behind this team the last time around. Its not about having ready made excuses for failure, its just about being in touch with reality. Everyone would be bitterly disappointed if we lose the league but there surely must be some semblance of reality when we review this season at the end.

    You go on about not reinforcing the defence when I have clearly made my point on how we have done exactly that, by buying VVD and Robertson and developing Trent and Gomez. So no travesty there. Could we have used Clyne? Definitely. Would we have had better results against West Ham and Leicester if we had Clyne? Very very doubtful. He certainly wouldn’t have contributed to Mane’s goal against West Ham which Milner did. Would an unhappy player be detrimental to squad harmony and mentality in the run-in? Most definitely!! That’s why he is gone and that’s another avenue where without having all the facts (as I’m ready to admit i don’t) we need to trust the managers decision.

    I also love how anyone who doesn’t agree with our absolute god given right to be winning is not a proper fan and must have been brought up in a time of mediocrity. Well I was a product of the 80s too and it pains me not to have been able to celebrate a league for 29 years but unlike most other rose-tinted fans of that era I am in touch with the reality of how money has irreversibly changed the landscape of football and how we lost many years due to the mismanagement of this club by previous owners.

    You also do not give any credence at all to role played by luck which is under no one’s control. If Klopp prioritises philosophy over trophies then surely we would never have been 7 points ahead in the first place? If we had the penalty and red card given against Leicester would you still be saying Klopp prioritises philosophy? We have lost 1 match this whole season. 1 MATCH AFTER 25 PLAYED!!!! If that is not a winning mentality and seizing the moment, I don’t know what is.

    At the first sign of dropped points we have fans whinging online harking back to the good old days when winning was in our DNA and how Klopp is not into winning titles. I guess he just enjoys losing finals. Positively lives off the adrenaline of coming so close yet so far. That’s detestable from fan who says they have followed the club for 4 decades and more in line with those fans who have recently joined the bandwagon.

  5. Raghav, i think you totally missed the point, its about seizing the moment, when you are in a winning position or in a position to win something, what do you do? Do you take actions to prioritize winning or not? In the eyes of many Leicester might be a flash in the pan but they had got something we did not didn’t they, a PL title. We spent more than them, supposedly more sustainable than them but the last time i checked we have 2 runners up title under Klopp.
    Yes, Klopp is a very good manager, he is just not so much into winning titles thats all, all his runners up title says it all and accomodating fans such as yourself just made him feels not winning anything is ok being a guardian of our club

  6. Oh yeah Raghav, Rafa had to deal with a set of cowboys and yet won us a CL and an FA cup and challenged for the title, i would say Klopp have it much better under FSG hasn he? What had Klopp got to show? I really hope he prove me wrong in May but history is not on his side, his actions does not tell me he is a winner like Rafa

  7. Chan, you’ve totally missed the whole picture while focusing on your lazy, microscopic point about seizing the moment. Your arguments are rooted in a fallacy that managers control every aspect of every game down to decisions taken by individual players on the pitch as well as controlling the actions of referees on deciding on cards and penalties. That’s a really silly prism of looking at football and how its played.

    According to your argument then, Claudio Ranieri did not have a winning mentality when he had the riches of Chelsea but suddenly developed it when he was at the more modest Leicester and then promptly lost it again the next season and thereafter. You give no quarter to luck and individual displays by talismanic players that change the result of one game which affects whether a coach winds up on the winning side or not.

    If Gerrard did not wind up the team from losing 3-0 to fightback and win, would Rafa have a winning mentality? If Dudek had let go 1 of the shots by Shevchenko in stoppage time wouldn’t Rafa be a loser? If Gerrard did not score a last minute goal against West Ham in the FA Cup final wouldn’t Rafa be a loser? The same Gerrard let our closest league challenge fall apart because he slipped and so Brendan Rodgers is a loser. If Karius had not thrown the ball directly to Benzema wouldn’t we have been taking the lead in that game? Is it Klopp’s fault that that happened? Is it Klopp’s fault that Karius could only parry the 3rd goal into the net? Is it Klopp’s fault that Salah went off injured?

    I could go on and on man. An individual game turns on soooooo many little incidences and events that its impossible for any one person to control every aspect. Messi and the whole of Barcelona’s outfield players wouldn’t be able to do jackshit if their keeper wanted to give away 2 goals. Does that mean the team or the coach does not have a winning mentality?

    The MASSIVE staring-in-your-face point you refuse to acknowledge is how the hell do you get to 3 finals if you DON’T have a winning mentality? How the hell did we remain unbeaten until the 20th game of the season and unbeaten again after if we DIDN’T have a winning mentality? The truth of the matter is that you need a whole lot of luck, decisions going your way and players being on form and remaining uninjured to win a football match on any day. How many times over the years have we accused the scum United of being lucky to get referees on their side and extra time and lucky mistakes by opposition players to win the league?

    If Michael Thomas didn’t win it in stoppage time, we’d be having 19 league titles. That’s not because of a lack of a winning mentality. Its just bad rotten luck. None of the elite coaches got to where they are without a winning mentality. Does Klopp have bad rotten luck, yeah you could say so. Does he have a winning mentality? 100% i would say so.

    I’m not an accommodating fan. I don’t brook coaches who have absolutely no plan, Souness, Hodgson et al. and who are apologists for failure. But when I see a guy who recognises and imbibes our culture and clearly has improved the club significantly then I’ll back him to the hilt. People who hark back to bygone days when winning was in our DNA have no cognisance nor appreciation for the irreversible way football has changed.

    PS: I know you’re probably the type that has to have the last word while arguing for argument’s sake. But this is all I have to say on this. If you are still missing the forest for the trees then nothing I say will help. I do hope you take a chill pill otherwise you are not going to be able to handle this title run-in. YNWA.

  8. Dear Chan, if I’ve missed the point, you my friend have missed the whole big picture all for the sake of your irrelevant point about seizing the moment. There is not a player or coach in the world who does not wish to seize the moment and prioritise winning unless you are really going to start comparing Klopp with Mourinho.

    But as I’ve mentioned before it takes a whole load of different factors. If you are trying to suggest that managers have control over the decisions players make on the field, the trajectory of the ball and wind, the decisions of a referee over cards and penalties, the conditions of the pitch etc etc etc then you are delusional.

    If we gave your theory any credibility, then Claudio Ranieri went from being a manager without a winning mentality with all the riches at Chelsea, to being a winning Manager at Leicester, to then go back again to being a useless manager the next season and thereafter??? Also for the first five years of his tenure Fergie didn’t have a winning mentality? Hope you see the ridiculousness of that statement.

    Your theory does not take into account the myriad possibilities and factors that have to combine in order to produce a winning team. If Gerrard hadn’t rallied the troops would Rafa be a winner? If Dudek hadn’t saved both Shevchenko’s shots in stoppage time, does it make Rafa a loser? If Gerrard didn’t score in the last minute at West Ham would Rafa have an FA Cup? Now if the same Gerrard didn’t slip against Chelsea would it mean Rodgers has a winning mentality? Is it Klopp’s fault that Karius threw the ball at Benzema, without which we would have gone in front in that match? Is it Klopp’s fault that Karius could only parry the ball into the net for the 3rd? Is it Klopp’s fault that Salah got injured?

    I could go on and on but you should get the point by now. There are a whole load of factors like talismanic players, correct decision making, referee decisions and 1000 other things which go into a winning team. If Michael Thomas hadn’t scored a last minute goal we would have had 19 championships! Does that make Dalglish’s mentality that of a loser? Even Messi and Barca’s whole outfield can do nothing if their keeper decides to give away 2 goals.

    The most important point that you REFUSE to acknowledge is that, it takes a winning mentality to even get to 3 finals. How the hell do you beat every other team to get to the final if you didn’t have a winning mentality? How do you stay unbeaten until the 20th game of the season if you don’t have a winning mentality? If Klopp doesn’t have a winning mentality then why bother getting to the final? To be at the elite level of any profession in the world means you must have had a single minded focus and a winning mentality.

    I am not an accommodating fan. I hate it when my club is run by managers who have no plan and who are apologists for failure like Souness and Hodgson. But it is this particular strain of fans who hark back to the glory days of a winning DNA, without a thought to the irreversible way in which football has changed since then which is sad. Missing the forest for the trees comes to mind.

    I never said not winning anything is ok and I’m willing to give Klopp until next season to win either the league or Champs. But has he been a failure at Liverpool? Categorically no. Has he improved the team and the club? Infinitely! Does he have a winning mentality? 100% yes. Does he have bad rotten luck? Definitely.

    P.S.: I know you’re the kinda guy who must have the last word cos it makes you feel like you won, but I’m done with this discussion because I don’t know how much more simply to explain this point. Seems like you’ll never get it. I suggest you take some medication to calm you for the rest of the season, cos in Fergie’s words we’re coming up to “squeaky bum time” and i don’t think you’ll be able to handle it.


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