I’M worried, Reds. I am worried about us. I’m not sure we are up to the mark — we have become distracted, fixated on the bollocks that is modern football and all that goes with it: the finance, the bottom line. We’re cry-arsing our way through pre-season.
I’m not talking about the players here, by the way. I am talking about us — the fans, the lads who are meant to cheer on our heroes in red and drag them through the difficult times.
For years we have railed against our club overspending on players, derided those in charge of transfers for wasting money on shite, whether that be previous managers, the transfer committee or big Damo Comolli. For overspending on players from Southampton for example, or blerting the equivalent of the GDP of what remains of the European Union on a big cart horse from Newcastle, or for trying to extract value from a market that can’t be cheated.
When we tried to throw the transfer market a bit of a Mickey Finn and sign no-marks who were boss on Champ Manager we moaned like fuck. When the no-marks turned out to be no-marks we moaned like fuck a bit more. When we tried to sign goals last year and bought the then manager’s number-one target and marquee signing (Christian Benteke) and the transfer committee’s number one signing (Roberto Firmino) we moaned like fuck about duplication, wasting resource, trying to keep two sides of a coin happy.
Then Jürgen Klopp took over. For a bit, we didn’t moan so much.
Gone were the excuses of transfer committees and unwanted players or self-serving, face saving, individuals and in their place was this superstar of football management who seemed to cut through all of the bollocks surrounding modern football and replaced it with honesty, humour and a work ethic that would be instilled throughout the club.
A manager who has historically been shown to develop younger players and teams, who values team work over individuality and who will tell anyone who will listen that the players who play for him need to buy into the team ethic, to work, learn, train and improve or be prepared to be shipped out, regardless of their stature or place in the squad.
Evidence of this ruthlessness can be seen recently with the treatment of Sakho and, arguably, with the sale of Jordon Ibe.
On the face of it, there would appear to be very little for Liverpool fans to cry about at the moment. The weaknesses so evident within the squad last year are getting addressed with a minimum of fuss.
The lack of pace, runners and goals from midfield has been sorted with the purchases of Wijnaldum and Mane — lads who were reportedly wanted by Champions League teams and who we persuaded to sign for us by letting Klopp give them a bell.
A keeper has been bought to challenge Big Si The Mig and although the evidence available during pre-season has been minimal, it looked to me that the lads in front were able to play 10 yards further forward just because of Karius’ presence on the edge of, or outside, his box.
A new centre half has been bought and an old shit one has been sold (win win they call that) and we will almost certainly buy some sort of left back within the coming weeks or convince James Milner to be better than Alonso again from there for a bit.
And yet people are still moaning like fuck.
Why aren’t we buying any “marquee signings” was last week’s hot cry-arsing topic. As cry-arsing topics go it is a good one as there is no definitive answer to what a “marquee signing” is, never mind why we aren’t signing one, meaning the cry-arsing can go on for ever. Which is nice.
The natural, organic extension of this bit of cry-arsing was to move into net spend and decry FSG’s investment in the club over the last few years which obviously and organically led on to the thought process that Klopp and his team building philosophy is just on message with FSG policy.
We need to have words, Reds. As Carra once delightfully said to Garth Crooks after being asked an overly inflated nonsensical question about boats or some shit:
“What are you going on about, mate?”
Seriously. Why are we now moaning about transfer policy when we have got a manager whose previous track record is what it is? One who is making all of the decisions on incoming players and has expressed such a desire to buy character and a set of attributes over anything else. Is it just because we haven’t spent a fortune on a name? Which “marquee player” do we want, Reds? Which centre forward could we realistically buy who would improve our squad ? A 29-year-old Higuain for £75.3million? A £75m Lukaku? While that would be hilarious for the level-10 fume game, it would guarantee it wouldn’t be that funny when he couldn’t be arsed to move and Big Divock could.
Although I can understand the frustration at the way FSG run the club, surely we should be praising them for appointing a manager whose characteristics and abilities are finally in tune with what they want to achieve rather than slagging them for it.
The suggestion that Klopp is now a mouthpiece for FSG and their policy of running the club does him a bit of a disservice. Why are we so keen to assume that Klopp’s reference of players not wanting to sign for us because we didn’t qualify for the Champions League is an FSG excuse for underinvestment rather than being based on an actual event where a player, like Mario Gotze for example, didn’t want to sign for us because we literally didn’t qualify for the Champions League?
Why are we so bothered about us having a negative net spend this year? We are selling players who we have previously bought for good money. Surely someone somewhere should be applauded for that. We aren’t selling first-team players who we will miss here — this isn’t Suarez or Sterling. It is the likes of Jordon Ibe, who scored one goal for Liverpool or Joe Allen who, while having a good Euros for Wales, only really played well for Liverpool in fits and starts and spent a significant proportion of his Liverpool career injured. He only really played well under Klopp when coming on in a game when the other side was tiring.
These to me are good pieces of business. Should we keep them just so we can say our net spend was sound? This is pie-in-the-sky nonsense and it needs jibbing.
I genuinely think that the Reds might win the league this year. Seriously, I do. No-one will be able to keep up with us or match our aggression, work rate or organisation. The lack of European football is a real advantage in this as is the time the manager spent with the players last year.
The pre-season looks alright, too. Have a go at reading TAW superstar Melissa Reddy’s brilliant piece on one of the training sessions and have a think if anyone is going to beat us when the real football starts. If you come up with any names, write them inside one of Brenno Rodgers’ three envelopes and stick them right up your own arse.
Win the fitness, win everything, Reds.
I can’t wait for us to lift the tile at home against Southampton (May 6 — book the week commencing May 8 off now). It will be boss, won’t it? We will also get the added bonus of seeing what the cry-arsing has moved on to by then, which will be sound.
Some dope somewhere will be moaning about how Henderson’s trophy lift isn’t as good as Souness’s or that Klopp should have worn a suit, or that they should have built a trophy presentation thing in the new Main Stand. What a time to be alive.
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