IT’S difficult to decide on what constitutes success this season for a Liverpool side that is now very much in the image of Jürgen Klopp.
The realist in you is pragmatic — he’s talking fourth-placed finishes, mulling over net spends and how problem positions have not been addressed.
He will point to Leroy Sane and John Stones bought by Manchester City for £80million and how the transfer record has been broken by Jose Mourinho, while we’re on course to make a profit come the close of the transfer window.
The realist harbours doubts in our current left back, Alberto Moreno, and worries that the reliance placed on Klopp’s ability as a coach is too heavy in an age when money is no object to many of the other clubs with high hopes in the Premier League.
He’ll recount years of failure and of how you’ve been let down too many times by the one you love.
Wrestling with the realist in you, is the idealist — the dreamer.
He rules with the heart — he does so every August. The idealist has only once experienced the ineffable emotion felt during a title race and all he wants is to relive that again. He can still taste the first pint after beating Manchester City at home that year, but can’t remember the last one.
He’s not yet felt the unconfined joy of winning a league title, but can all too clearly recall the heartache of coming closest.
With unfettered optimism, he’s bursting with pre-season exuberance. He’s enthused by beating Barcelona and the fact that for the first time he — quite frankly — does not give two fucks about Luis Suarez because we’ve got Danny, Big Div and Firmino in red.
These are the tools for the job, led by an unconventional German whose infectious personality emanates positivity and just the right amount of madness. The idealist will do anything for the Reds to get stuck in, to stick it to the rest in the knowledge that we’re the side rivals are quickest to taunt and mock.
He realises that it’s most likely he’s dealing in delusions of grandeur but is undeterred by the fact that he’s most vulnerable to disappointment.
While each season stands alone and each summer represents a clean slate, you can’t help but feel Kloppo’s 10 months in charge have been building up to Sunday. With a pre-season behind them and no midweek distractions, the ‘nearly man’ and his men have a chance of shaking up this league — just like Leicester did last year.
All I want is to visit every karaoke bar in Liverpool after Leicester to belt out Toto’s Africa or Love Shack; my rendition of each has been well received in Woody’s because these Reds have beaten the Champions to go top with 12 points.
I want to sing “show them the way to go home” to every single side in the league, but they’ll know already that they’re literally only half a football team compared to the boys in red.
I want to win a league title with these Reds. It’s all I need.
While my optimism may be blind, convincing ourselves that this squad is as good as it’s been for years is all part of pre-season. So realist, or idealist — which sounds more fun to you?
– All the build-up to Sunday’s big match on our bumper 80-minute Friday Show. Don’t subscribe? Try a free clip from the show here: