Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool rebuild is picking up momentum and we’re sensing the start of an exciting new journey…
THREE home games in a week. Three chances to go to Anfield threw up some interesting sidenotes.
The Anfield Road stand remains closed and brings with it a sense that the stadium is a little ghostly, despite attendances being well higher than a packed pre-Main Stand redevelopment.
The atmosphere has lost some of its anxiety yet remains in need of spark. This coincides with where we are. Intrigued by a new team, eager to see more of them and slowly waking up to a new sense of journey.
A couple of new songs, an anthem to mark the times will do nicely in this sense. Our previous rallying cries feel wedded to another team, another time.
In general, you get the feeling we’re all enjoying it. We could eagerly anticipate The Vitality on a storm battered Wednesday night and come out feeling as serene as the Mersey on a spring afternoon.
It got me thinking about rain, and wind, and walking through it. About how some terrains are easier than others. How Jarell Quansah can make you sing and skip and click your heels, while Roy Hodgson can leave you feeling you’re naked on top of Ben Nevis with no way down.
Hodgson was also making headlines this week for slating Crystal Palace youngsters he’d brought on while chasing a game at home to Tottenham.
He later apologised. To Liverpudlians with memory it will resonate as blind ignorance when you least need it. Some may feel it’s a mask slip from a man who can at times be unnecessarily vindictive.
To think of Hodgson and rain and Liverpool transports you to Northampton Town in September 2010, when 22,577 watched us pathetically whimper out of the Carling Cup third round.
If Anfield feels a little empty now, that night will forever be remembered as a time many could barely stomach the enterprise.
Liverpool was disbanded. A month away from an 11th hour High Court rescue mission. Players who were either not at the level or not wanting to stick around. A manager so absurdly unsuited in every way that it was a massive problem.
It’s not that people couldn’t be arsed getting wet, or that it was Northampton in the League Cup. It was about lacking identity and purpose.
A prevailing unanswerable in football is what role a manager should fulfil. Must every head coach be charged with unification? Do they have to understand the people and place and represent them in tandem with local councillors?
There is always space for conversation about a manager’s worth to a football club. Sometimes being David Moyes or Sean Dyche is enough.
Jurgen Klopp has changed things simply by being able to do more than his job specification sets out. He’s unique in the sense of holding people and place alongside managing a football team.
To travel and invest in Bournemouth away on Wednesday means you’re part of a story. That this chapter’s narrative is forming around you.
With Klopp, all the pieces matter. Thirteen years and four months in the pawn shop unit and now you’re back doing the real work.
Northampton can feel like a lifetime ago. In truth it’s never that far away. You can be Manchester United one minute and, well, Manchester United the next.
All of this is holding your nerve and making smart decisions combined with being lucky. In many senses, there aren’t many better settings for seeing where your barometer truly sits than nights like Wednesday.
There was professionalism and desire from everyone. The willingness to compete with the opposition and elements – everything you want to see.
There’s so much to be excited about with this team. They’re in rhythm and in games in a big way. Players who’ve achieved so much up for playing anywhere, anytime.
There was one rainy night which felt like the end of something. That this football club had made all the wrong decisions and lost its way to the point people no longer bothered turning up.
Wednesday felt part of something. It was a time and a place in the journey of Klopp and Liverpool. It was a rain you’d feel a hundred times over compared to the alternative.