“Doubters to believers”
A mantra that Jurgen Klopp has drummed into the Liverpool faithful from day one. For decades, three of them to be precise, Liverpool had mounted a few real title challenges, only to fall desperately short and fade into mediocrity thereafter.
We’ve seen managerial changes, changes of ownership and players come and go. Still, that title remained as elusive as a mask at a Trump Rally. As Klopp walked away from that opening press conference, supporters already began to believe. Without hope, what was there? “I’m The Normal One” he quipped to raucous laughter as the media lapped up every word, but his story would be nothing but extraordinary.
In that first game against Spurs, one could already see glimpses of the pressing style that had made the German so famous. It is a system that is truly merciless on the body and mind. Klopp learned of how it could destroy a player’s will to fight, with that last season at Dortmund being the proof in the pudding. His Dortmund players had won titles and gone far in European competitions, but their efforts in the Klopp years had left them shattered beyond full repair both physically and mentally, and the mystery of this phenomenon left him puzzled and concerned.
After his Dortmund departure, he spent his time away from the game focused mainly on mental aspects, because he had realised that where the mind leads, the body follows. So when he walked into Melwood, he brought with him a new dimension to his techniques. Within a few years, he built a squad in his image. Speed, strength, stamina and strength of mind too, the final piece in the puzzle. “Mentality Monsters” as he would famously refer to them later on. You could see the joy in training, you could sense the will to succeed in the body language of every player. But above all, the togetherness stood out. Every player was selfless, never seeing himself as the star.
In today’s day and age, a wonderful rarity. Yes, the media would always try to make Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane appear to be competing with each other. Well, they probably did, but in a healthy way. Both had humble beginnings but had made it to the top of the game with hard work and dedication, and both had never forgotten where they came from. And this type of humbleness was everywhere across the squad. It was almost as if Big Jurgen had chosen these players more for who they were as people, than their ability on the pitch. Emotional intelligence is huge nowadays, and the Reds have it in abundance.
So the pressure on the manager and the group to succeed was high, but they believed in their ability. Klopp believed in them and motivated them throughout. A father figure, you could see the genuine love they felt for him, and him for them. From reaching finals in his first season to winning finals, the group kept going. And when they came so close last season, finishing second by the closest of margins, many would be forgiven for thinking that the cycle of rinse and repeat would come back into effect. But not this group. Klopp said they would build on the second-place finish and take the next step. He said it with so much conviction like it was just a formality- That takes a special kind of mental strength. And like his 1st press conference, his words reigned true.
30 years of waiting, 30 years of hurt, 30 years of “ah almost”, 30 years of not quite getting there, Jurgen Klopp delivered on his promise. Gone are the “next year is Liverpool’s year” jokes, all that remain are tears and glory. It feels unreal, it hasn’t fully sunk in yet, But the gravity of what this manager and his players have done will be felt for decades to come.
Thanks to Liverpool Football Club for teaching us the power of loyalty, to stick together no matter what the challenge, to believe in a goal.
As the sky turns Red and amidst the joy of Liverpool winning the league, my thoughts drift towards a certain hero of the Kop, who for 20 years had tried his best to land Liverpool the holy grail of English Football. I wonder what was going through his head when the final whistle blew. I ponder as to his reaction… was it a fist pump of intense joy or sprint around the house ?
I picture him grabbing his son Leo’s face, telling him WE’VE DONE IT SON! A cheeky smile to his wife and daughters when Klopp said “This is for Stevie G….” Ah, but to have seen him revelling in the moment. Tears must’ve flowed as easily as the Mersey, each drop exploding into a spray of Red Euphoria.
The Red mist will float into the night sky, and dream anew will be formed. [Peter Drury Voice]
Thank you to every fan, every player, every single one associated with the club, for in this moment, together, we are the Champions.