THE transfer window has, mercifully, slammed shut, writes DAVID WEBBER. The hum of rumours and ‘ITKs’ cluttering up Twitter can at least subside, and with the Main Stand finally completed, the season can start in earnest when we welcome the Reds back to Anfield on Saturday.
With the amount of hype that our new Main Stand has received, I’m half expecting UNESCO to grant it World Heritage status in the not too distant future, but our early season form means it will provide an impressive backdrop to what promises to be a rollercoaster of a season.
Of course, new stands don’t win games and for some, the redevelopment of the Main Stand is a convenient smokescreen for a disappointing summer in the transfer market.
You know the narrative by now: key positions not filled, the need of a new left-back, not enough leaders. Even Kloppo has started to get it in the neck. Considering letting Mamadou Sakho go out on loan? Not binning Alberto Moreno? No plan B(urnley). Is he really an improvement on Brendan…?
Only yesterday, here on TAW, Paul Cantwell was casting green eyes up the East Lancs Road; comparing Manchester United’s capture of Henrikh Mkhitaryan with that of Sadio Mané, and criticising FSG’s “penny-pinching” signing of Loris Karius.
FSG’s “reckless, pie-in-the-sky, penny-pinching economics” was, according to Paul, making the Reds mediocre. All because we’re signing no-name players for smaller fees from smaller clubs.
I’m not having a pop at Paul here. It’s this bald market-logic that loads of fans have fallen for. Just sell the club off to the highest bidder; who cares whether they’re in Boston, Beijing or Bootle? Try to blow our rivals out of the water. Titles are decided and ambitions are realised only through the flexing of financial muscle.
Here’s the uncomfortable bit though. It’s pretty clear that Jürgen Klopp doesn’t think or work like that. So as fans, should we think like that?
Klopp is an alchemist. His tenure at Borussia Dortmund proved that, with dozens of unknown players signed relatively cheaply from smaller, if not “mediocre” clubs only for them to become part of Germany’s genuinely “golden generation” under his tutelage.
And we’re starting to see improvements here at Anfield, too. In less than a year in the job, players including Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi have all improved almost beyond all recognition from their first season at the club.
Given his record in this respect, does anyone doubt Klopp’s ability to help turn around the Liverpool careers of Alberto Moreno or even the bombed-out Mamadou Sakho?
Elsewhere, Klopp is polishing the exquisite Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. He is fine-tuning the Rolls-Royce engine of Emre Can, and bringing into the mix some exciting young talent in the form of Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo.
Allied to some astute summer signings — the aforementioned Mané and Karius, alongside the talented Marko Grujic and Georginio Wijnaldum — these are exciting times to be a Red.
Yet the biggest asset that the club has, you won’t find in the club’s accounts.
While financial experts will tell you about the new multi-million pound TV deal divvied up amongst the twenty Premier League clubs, FSG will talk about the increased revenue, and potential naming rights associated with the new Main Stand. They will boast of an ever-expanding suite of sponsors and partners. They may even mention the club’s billion-pound Forbes valuation.
All of this however is just on paper.
Beautifully, and rather brilliantly however, football isn’t played on paper. In fact, football played on paper is, as Mark Hannan would tell you, fugazi.
“It’s a whazy. It’s a woozie. It’s fairy dust. It doesn’t exist. It’s never landed. It is no matter. It’s not on the elemental chart. It’s not fucking real.”
What is real is how the Reds compete on the pitch. How they are set up. How Jürgen gets the most of the players at his disposal.
The reality, of course, is that the Reds are not the finished article. Yet — and here’s the rub — there is little value to us in signing players who are. Because once those players have peaked, there’s only one way they will go.
Improvements and reinforcements will almost certainly be made in January, but what excites me between now and the end of the season is watching those players that do pull on the Liverpool jersey improve and develop.
And there’s no other coach I’d rather have to oversee this than Jürgen Norbert Klopp.
I don’t care what a player has achieved elsewhere. I want players to be winners at Liverpool Football Club — because when those Reds win we all win.
Up the golden Reds.
Listen to the latest *free* Anfield Wrap podcast here: