WEDNESDAY’S win over Manchester City was a tonic after the disappointment of Wembley, but as we left Anfield some long held concerns came to mind.
A grinning Jürgen Klopp — clearly buoyed by the best home performance of the season — was on the pitch embracing his players as usual. As he congratulated the last of them, just yards outside the penalty area at the Kop end, he cast a brief glance upwards towards the fans.
Half of them had gone, the rest were on their way to the exits. Klopp reluctantly turned his back and headed for the tunnel. No defiant salute, no acknowledgment, not even a cheery wave.
It could have been the ideal moment to express that players and manager appreciated the backing from the thousands at Wembley; that the pain of the weekend’s defeat had been channelled into producing a landmark performance and that we kick on from here — together.
But, Klopp would have looked daft conducting a bonding session with a half-empty ground. Sure, it was a midweek night and we’ve all got work in the morning. Yes, it was in the wake of crushing dismay at losing a cup final. And, it was hard to recall a league fixture which on the face of it, mattered so little in the build up.
By half-time though everyone was buzzing. There was excited chit chat on the concourse under The Kop and the positivity carried on throughout the second half with a brilliant third goal. We had moved on and a night that could have sounded the death knell to our league campaign suddenly renewed hope for an end-of-season charge.
The irony though is that a half-hearted attempt at You’ll Never Walk Alone on 85 minutes was the signal, like someone ringing a bell, for everyone to get off.
New paragraph. I’ll get back to the point in a minute. Lads, there’s no need for You’ll Never Walk Alone at the end of every bloody game.
Back in the day, we only sang our anthem to signal a magnificent fightback or, very occasionally, to soothe after a heroic defeat — in massive games.
This season, we sang it four times against Carlisle fucking United in the third frigging round of the League Cup. Once at the start, again at 90 mins, for good measure another crap rendition at half-time in extra time, and all over again before penalties. Against Carlisle United. Madness.
We’ve turned our hymn of battle, which once inspired generations of greats to Leagues and European cups into a ritualistic piece of end-of- evening nonsense.
Once it’s out of the way, You’ll Never Walk Alone — now a chore completed akin to emptying the dishwasher — we can all go home. Or so it seems.
Of course, this isn’t the only trigger for people leaving before the end. Some fans will have justifiable reasons for an early dart, but the en masse departure of thousands just sends out the wrong message; a message an intuitive person like Klopp will pick up on.
Kloppo won’t be up to speed or particularly arsed with congestion on Walton Lane, the scramble for the Soccer Bus, or the long walk to Bank Hall station.
How long before Klopp begins to think; it’s too hard to connect with this lot? They’ve all gone home before I get the chance to say “Guten Nacht”. And, let’s not forget his words back in the autumn when a Crystal Palace winner sounded the exit bell. Later, against West Brom, he led the players to salute the fans for their support.
In different circumstances the other night, we saw that his plea for us to stay to the end and connect with the team has fallen largely on deaf ears. How long before Klopp senses the human raw materials he used at the Westfalenstadion to create a hugely powerful collective, simply aren’t present at tired, old Anfield?
A massive part of his managerial philosophy is to harness the power of the supporters through a key relationship with players.
In this country, recreating what he had at Dortmund is a huge challenge. We just don’t feel the same about our cosseted, super-rich footballers. The Bundesliga lads are hardly paupers but there is more of a connection between players and fans who aren’t paying through the nose.
Read: “Jordan Henderson must die” – Footballers, Fans And Respect
Supporters in Germany are closer in age to their counterparts on the pitch with enthusiasm and energy to match. No-one should expect swathes of middle-aged Liverpudlians to be swinging their shirts above their heads, but it’s not too much to ask that we stay until the final whistle and send them off with cheers ringing in their ears at the end of a good night’s work
Until we get that, how can Klopp recreate and foster Shankly’s Holy Trinity of manager, players and fans; united as we embrace this new era?
The supreme irony is that away from Anfield, everyone is buzzing off Klopp. Results haven’t been quite what we would have hoped for, but things are looking up and there are signs his influence is beginning to rub off on the team.
Fans are hanging on his every last word and the internet is awash with clips and vines of his latest soundbite or comedy moment.
The more mature among us respect his more serious and astute analysis of players and performance as we read between the lines and see who he fancies for next season. Inside the ground though, there is nothing for Klopp to sense the esteem in which he is held by the supporters; not even a a simple song widely adopted to gladden his heart.
The debate over atmosphere, ticket prices and access, and the changed demographic of the Liverpool crowd is a red-herring here. There are still 40,000-plus people inside Anfield, all of whom love the Reds and even more so in some cases, Klopp. But, we’re giving him nothing to feed off; nothing for him to create the synergy that is the crux of his managerial ethos.
He would be hard pressed to guess that for Liverpool fans he’s already a hero six months into his Anfield career. He might even wonder what he’s done wrong as we routinely head for the exits without singing his name.
“You come out and the place explodes — out of the darkness, into the light. You look to your left and it seems like there’s 150,000 people up on the terrace all going completely nuts.”
Dortmund’s Yellow Wall is a far cry from any stale terrace in the Premier League, the Kop included. It’s unrealistic to expect that we’ll ever create such passion in England ever again.
No doubt Klopp was sold a vision of support at Liverpool that would match his love affair with those on the Südtribüne in Germany. It was a false promise, but at the very least we should be trying to kid him a while longer.
Uncomfortable read that. I live abroad, am not a matchgoer so there is little for me to sayother than the unwrapped show this week went into how this ultimately can be turned around. If the re is a will from those who are the guardians of the club then there is certainly a way.
How come we don’t have a song for Klopp yet when he is held in such high esteem??
On subject song for klopp I suggested to sons of shankly Beatles hey Jude Na Na jurgun did not even get a response,our songs are monotone need more bouncy catchy songs that make u sing
Klopp the builder
Can he fix it?
Klopp the builder
Yes he can!
Very astute article and a tough one to swallow…..but the Kop & Anfield has been living off its rep for far too long. Face it – we are just another crowd now….yet we have the most amazing manager hungry to recreate something special. We need to all wake up to what we have – and what we could lose here
I totally agree. The mass exodus before the final whistle always annoys me. I never leave early and always prefer to wait a few minutes to applaud the players and manager after match. Anfield has become a very uninspiring and unimaginative environment. As you suggest, it is frustrating that the miserable fans hardly ever sing the manager’s name, regardless of the level of performance. Quite what can be done about it is perhaps another matter, though I’ll continue to sing and shout for the 90+ minutes of every match in the hope that somebody near might join in eventually.
Good piece Mike but please let us just drop this emotional blackmail or guilt tripping. Unless we have a great end to the season and go win something, the past 2 seasons have bean amongst the worst in my 50 yr lifetime with little to get excited about. And like the old adage goes, if it looks like shit, smells like shit, tastes like shit then it’s definitely SHIT!! When the time feels right to get in the mood, be elated and beat our chests, then it will deform be the right time!! Just leave it alone. As you wrote at the beginning of your post, lets not force the issue or it will feel contrived and as in the chorus lyrics of a great great 80s disco tune “Don’t push it don’t force it let it happen naturally, coz it will surely happen if it was meant to be. Heh!! (And repeat) Don’t push it don’t force it………. Them were the days!!
It sounds to me the +vibe in the ground is going in the right direction and slowly building a head of steam, and it takes yonks to build up a proper head to shift the locomotive, especially from a cold empty boiler.
I was just looking at John Williams book Red Men. A 1900 pic of the Kop shows people getting off early. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Thought an 86th minute walkout was news to me as well.
Always read your articles mike . I know how you feel but think it’s a culmination of the quality of squad and a hangover still from 13/14 . I don’t quite by the ” modern ” football not connecting with fans rationale .
I remember the ynwa from Spurs and city at home . 13/14 . Spine tingling . That was under 24 months ago . Good atmosphere always returns with a competiive team . Caveat with the fact that you have to get hardcore support in the stadium to Achieve it .
i believe d story wud hav been entirely different had we won d league cup!im almost certain a song in d similitude of ‘rogers slew thousands, klopp slew ten thousands…’ wudv been generated right then n there!!…i guess fans want to (and to some extent)already believe dat klopp is lfc’s messiah- dey r simply waitin 2 SEE it in Full swing!- d klopp effect chants were jus a tip of d iceberg!…cos i believe in klopp! YNWA!
wat d fuk?
Need to start shaming the early leavers with a song.
Peer pressure, it works.
Remember benitez and houllier chants. What about to the tune of ” one Andy Carroll there’s only one…..”
Klopp uber alles
Jurgen klopp uber alles
Klopp uber allllles
Jurgen klopp uber alles
Excellent Mike. I had exactly the same thoughts. I’m as interested in the psychology of LFC as much as the football itself and this has weighed heavily on my mind this week. I really felt for the man. I felt for Milner too.
I’ve read 2 lines today that have provoked thought. One was ‘tired old Anfield’. That’s exactly what it is. My favourite show on here is Unwrapped and I listened to this week’s show twice it was that good. I completely agree with the sensitivity issues but I was heartened by what I heard on there. I now believe that at some point safe standing will come on the agenda. Maybe, it’s the single thing that can change the Kop and I say that in relation to your article as well as the atmosphere. The whole thing needs a shake up. P.s the other was ‘privatising the profits and socialising the losses, which in the context of the article was a brilliant line.
To be honest mate I enjoyed this because of the way I’ve been feeling this week. I was friggin drained on the train back on Sunday night and I was reflecting on things in a negative way. It’d been a brilliant day until we took our seats in the ground. That carrier bag annoyed me immediately when it said if you truly support your team you’ll hold this up when the national anthem plays and let the players know, whilst creating a spectacular mosaic (for Wembley marketing). I find the whole experience in the ground nauseating. It was a shame really, we’d had such a good day. My hands are still bruised from banging on the tube ceiling and walls whilst leading the whole carriage into Bertie Mee.
Anyway, my point, all the things I’d taken in over the day hit home on the train home and wrecked my head a bit. About 20 of us went down and I asked where some of the lads were who’ve seen Liverpool win European cups in the 80’s and was told they couldn’t get a ticket. The brother of 1 had paid £300. Some of the lads didn’t get them outside the ground either and watched in the pub. These are season ticket holders who’ve been going for years. Ok, one reason is some of them are giving tickets to their sons but even so. I looked around at all the people who’d got in the ground and I wondered how those people had got tickets before some of the lads I refer to. I don’t care what anyone thinks about that but I felt annoyed.
Then there was the racist behind me whenever Sterling got the ball. I felt no connection to our supporters. I don’t know what my issue is. Maybe I’d just like to be around a few more people who were as wrecked as I was. It feels so sanitised. Going back to Wembley itself, I missed City’s goal as we were still in the toilets but I didn’t hear it. I was less than 100 yards away and didn’t hear 30k people cheering. I’m not blaming them. It’s the acoustics of Wembley. It’s just wank.
Have you seen the comments on this site this week? Unfuckinbelievable some of them. I wasn’t going to comment again. I’ve no desire to be in the same community as some of these degenerates. I suppose this article has encouraged me to get it off my chest. John’s article too about the stick our own players get on social media. It’s just fuckin embarrassing to support LFC and although probably not true when being less generalising, I seem to despise our fans more and more. When we got to Crewe the train to Chester was an hour away which felt like a lifetime under the circumstances and we got black cabs back. The brother who paid £300 for his ticket was in my cab and said a number of times that he’d had a brilliant day and wasn’t bothered about the money spent in the slightest. He was also going on that some of the older heads of the Chester lads who have followed Liverpool had started dropping off from going and he was saying how disappointed it made him.
In that moment I saw clearly how it was. He was constantly justifying the money he’d spent that day in his head. He’s in the final stages of his time as a match goer though he may not know it just yet. He’s 48 now. Some in his circle of mates are already there. They’ve gone. They simply didn’t see £150, 200, 300 etc plus train and spends as good value for money for the Wembley trip. I’m on the rungs as well. We have this romanticism about what going to the match is about but the reality is quite different. Some keep their rituals no doubt but for me we rarely go for a drink before the game now unless it’s Saturday 5.30 and we sit on our own when we’re there. Under pinning this change of heart a lot of people I know are getting is the cost of football. When you have to justify the cost you start questioning your choices a bit more and slowly that compulsion to go that people have starts ebbing away.
‘That carrier bag annoyed me immediately when it said if you truly support your team you’ll hold this up when the national anthem plays and let the players know, whilst creating a spectacular mosaic (for Wembley marketing).’
Ah shit… I’d forgotten about that until now. Was half cut so it didn’t set me off like it might of done. Like a full on paragraph of desperate, dreadful baloney.
But tell us Robin , how do you really feel about it?
Man after my own heart Robin, I didn’t realise how bladdered I was myself until I watched highlights when I got home and honestly couldn’t remember most of them.
A couple of the things you said I experienced myself. I actually didn’t clock the mosaic thingy by my seat until about 10 minutes in, also missed their goal as I was still finishing off my bevvy but like you said, their roar was toned down so much due to the design of the ground it felt like a half-hearted free-kick appeal at first.
One thing out of all you said stuck with me, and it was that I looked around at certain people thinking “how the fuck did they get a ticket?”. Now I don’t know everyone’s situation but there were certain people there who you just knew were not season ticket/member card holders etc who’d accumulated the credits, fucking baffled me that and on the way home when I had time to think it probably pissed me off more than the result.
Then to top it off I had words with a fella (wool/OOT) who, to be fair, was trying to get songs going, but twice made a point of shouting “come on scousers where are you all today” blah blah blah. After the second time had a few words with him about “what his fucking point was?”, how the whole ground is shit, doesn’t encourage great atmosphere, how even their end was shit too. He ended up agreeing, which how in my drunken state I consider an achievement, even ended up hugging him and his lad on the equaliser, go figure. Strange old game.
Had a similar thing on the train back. My mates had phoned saying they were on a train on platform 13 but when I got to the platform the police said I had to get on the train on 12. It was going to mancs via Crewe. Like I said I was a bit wrecked and stood up and addressed the carriage stupidly. I told them they didn’t deserve to win because if we’d won the whole train would have been bouncing. They weren’t even bothered. Told them they were shit fans. They couldn’t even have seen the cup lifted because I left immediately after the pens and went direct to the train. I think they accepted my argument in the end.
Unity Is Strength
Flanno’s opening tackle.
Lallana running a marathon.
And then the supporters in their masses fuck of early.
Klopp didn’t look to bothered as he walked off, was smiling and applauding us in the paddock. He’s probably accepted it now.
If you need to “get off early to get to bed cause you’ve got work in the morning” or whatever – maybe the match going supporting thing isn’t for you.
Get a dodgy sky box and a good nights kip and let some other supporter go who gives support…
I can’t see Thursday being an early dart for anyone.
We gonna batter them.
All you need is Klopp!
All you need is Klopp!
All you need is Klopp, Klopp!
Klopp is all you need!