MOMENTS that change things. I was working in a record shop. Late eighties. Mentioned this before. Lots of times. 1988 going into 89. That summer of 89 when all we did was tell anybody that looked like they’d ever seen a guitar that what they really needed in their lives was this here Stone Roses album and if we were wrong then we’d give them a refund.
We never gave a refund.
The other thing we did was ponder on these lads who came in and bought the Happy Mondays’ Bummed album knowing that they thought they ever getting this “second Summer of Love” dance stuff when what they were actually getting was this bunch of mad Mancs who sounded like Can.
The band Can, that is, not handsome Emre. Not heard Can? Check them out, they’re sodding brilliant. And Jürgen loves them. Which is proof positive that there’s no way on God’s earth that he doesn’t think that Opus were shite of the highest order so can we have a decent song for him please? Can we just sing “Jürgen Klopp” to the tune of, oh, I don’t know Ace of Spades or something?
He’d like that.
The Mondays though. We were talking the Mondays and we were talking the moment. And the moment is this. The moment is the remixes. You forget now — if you ever knew, you might all be way too young — that the version that they called the single was the Vince Clarke remix.
The remix of Wrote For Luck that was now W.F.L. That wasn’t the version everyone was listening to though. The version everyone was listening to was the Oakenfold remix, the one where the beat became brilliant and the guitars became hypnotic and there was this keyboard bit that you knew that you’re heard and couldn’t place and — and this is the important bit — he took this sample from the Batman film that hit that summer and he used that as the outro and it gave the remix its name; Jack Nicholson chewing the scenery as The Joker and telling us that we should “Think about the future”.
Think about the future. Oakey, before he became utterly sainted and went to live in Cream and everything, blended all these elements together and gave us the start of Madchester and the 90s and something new. Gave us the future. Can you see where I’m going yet?
Think about the future. We’ve seen it, we’ve seen the start of it, saw it at Villa on Sunday. We have, you know it. Sunday wasn’t about the returns from injury and the reinstatement of what we are, Sunday was about seeing the first fruit of what Jürgen Klopp actually intends Liverpool to be. I’m certain of this.
Look at that team. The lads wearing the shirts may not all be there next season but the shape will be, the intent will be, the purpose will be. The joy of the weekend — apart from the scoring six goals and everything — is that we were clearly working our arses off but didn’t look like we needed to try, looked as though we had more to give if we needed to.
Not like we needed to, like.
Villa couldn’t be bothered after the second one went in, no matter how many pictures of cars Lescott accidentally tweets to demonstrate his passion. We had more, though. And that’s the point, that’s one of the points, there was more. The system gave us more.
Yes, I agree with every single other article that’s been written since, the return of Daniel Sturridge gives us so much more, gives us flexibility that we haven’t seen for the entirety of this season and the majority of last, gives us an ever present threat but we score three after he goes off. The threat doesn’t give way. The threat that replaces the threat has the ball in the back of the net after 30 seconds.
Possibly, partly, because he just slots into the system. And the slotting into the system’s vital.
Origi steps in to do Sturridge’s job because he can. Because he knows how to do that. He might not be Sturridge but there aren’t many players who are. He knows how to do the job. That’s why he’s on before Benteke.
And Hendo knows how to do the job in the front three. He’s not going to do the full Coutinho but then most players won’t at the moment. He knows what needs doing though and the system doesn’t change. The system doesn’t even really change when big Chris hits the pitch and manages to be the only man on earth incapable of scoring against his old club. A sympathy vote perhaps?
The system though, the system. I think — and feel free to yell at me for everything I get wrong, it’s only an opinion after all — this is the Klopp Liverpool system. After everything we’ve seen, I think this is what we’re getting: A 4-3-3 but a flexible 4-3-3. The flexibility is everything, absolutely everything. That mobile front three? The interchanging nature of it, the way that you don’t know if Sturridge is on the right or the left or the middle or if Firmino’s a false nine or a winger or if Coutinho’s a midfielder or a forward?
That’s beautiful and Origi and Ings step into that way of working really nicely.
That’s five for the front three already. Soz, Chris, not going to be needing you by the looks of it, not even as a plan B, got loads of lads there. And probably Mario as well by the looks of it. Jürgen’s gone on record — just after confirming that Matip’s on his way in the summer — that he’s looking at wingers. Which makes the links to Sane look pretty concrete in intent at least. Yeah, Barca are supposedly scouting the lad but come on…who are you taking out of that front three, Leroy? Not happening. We’ll love you, come to us. And Markovic? The wanting him back? Speed, directness, counter-attacking. Not even talking Ibe and Ojo at this point.
The middle? One holding and two moving but never the same one and two, always changing, taking it in turns to step forward, to sit, to burst to the box. A pivot of three who pivot to their hearts’ content and have license to enjoy themselves? Cool.
And if we’re adding to that with the fact that Matip can hold and with the Xhaka links that won’t go away and the fact that Grujic is on his way and with the possible promise of Brannagan and Rossiter and Stewart and Chirivella then we suddenly look very, very covered there.
Might be losing a lad or two from that department as well but such is life. We move forward. We very much move forward, that’s the system, the system is about moving the team forward. Figuratively and literally.
Which is why the full backs are so far forward. The full backs aren’t full backs any more, we’re willing to throw them forward and leave two lads at the back — and those two lads seem to come from Matip, Gomez, Lovren, Sakho, Skrtel and maybe this Nordtveit lad whose name we’re going to need to learn how to spell if the links that won’t go away this morning are anything to go by — a second big lad at the back who Jürgen knows and we can get for nothing?
Business is changing and the committee don’t seem to be part of that changing business at the moment. Goalies are getting linked. Which is nice. Winter’s fading away and we’re heading for spring. Be nice if we could get there with a cup in our pocket and a sight of the top five.
This is it, this is the future. The future has started and it’s looking pretty damn good at the moment, isn’t it?