A look at what lies behind Jürgen Klopp’s rallying cry to ensure that Arsenal feel the Anfield atmosphere on Saturday…
THE manager is very clear in his communications.
This is important to remember as you lay things out. The memorandum of understanding that will not preach to you about how I – some hypocrite from who cares where – think you should support a football team.
There will be no judgement of how you choose to participate, brother or sister.
There will be nothing you can take as fact from Gary Neville’s already outlined pre-match agenda.
There will be no blame laid on the geographical location or age of you, the dear supporter with the golden ticket, but…
The revolution will be televised. And inferences will be drawn regardless.
First and foremost, listen to what Jürgen Klopp has said. Notice how the message never changed from when he first walked through the door and gave his first Napoleonic address.
Klopp’s directive is simple: react to what you see.
What he saw from his players against West Ham, he felt, warranted more excitement. They deserved rawer passion and gouster-ish emotion from those witnessing all that football can bring.
More, he knows it’s about place. That despite the lens of cameras that broadcast across continents and time zones, whatever happens inside that arena is sacred and pure and ultimately decided by those in it.
When Emre Can scores possibly the greatest ever Klopp-era goal six years ago versus Hoffenheim, the manager pounds his chest and screams “this is football” to the same Main Stand he reprimanded midweek.
He doesn’t care about singing. He’s got no time for whether you know the words to Poor Scouser Tommy. Gives no fucks if you’re from Anfield or Albania.
For Klopp, the message has always been about togetherness in the stadium. Everyone focused on what’s happening in a green patch of L4 land.
That has yielded a wondrous alchemy over the years. He has delivered to its crowd a team embodying the inferred values of a city. He’s shown there’s connection and a way of winning together through egalitarianism and trust.
He wants you to make it anguish for opposition and react with visceral pride at a Liverpool team who are literally falling to their knees over 90 minutes for you. Isn’t that all you’ve ever wanted?
What else, then? He is our master of ceremonies. As pointed and evocatively spoken as Jay Landsman, stood over a Baltimore detective laid out in an Irish Bar as he mournfully declares: “He was called, he served, he is counted. Oh, King Cole.”
For 90 minutes your job, according to Klopp, is to ensure Liverpool win at Anfield. If he thinks his players are doing their utmost but you aren’t, he’ll tell you. Whatever you think of that, he’s the only person who isn’t Bill Shankly or Bob Paisley who ever had our ear in this way.
Sometimes, there’s no inquest to be had. The argument about locals versus non, young versus old, and ticket distribution have been a thing for the entirety of my Liverpool-supporting life. That tells you this isn’t confined, that it’s not a new or now thing.
Klopp implores you to remember what got us to our best. It wasn’t complicated. It was about being with the team, living in their millisecond and trusting them until they give you a legitimate reason not to.
His identity, or that of his team, hasn’t shifted. Arsenal’s might have, but my word if one team expects to be wobbled by Anfield it’s them.
Don’t disappoint them. Don’t misinterpret Jürgen Klopp is my only imploring plea. But then this was never about my two pence worth. I don’t control anything other than a seat in The Kop and suddenly I’m reminded of my agency. How wonderful to play a part.
Two sleeps until Christmas, one until we get to witness this thing of ours again. Make it ours, theirs, his, he asks kindly. Remember we get a say in proceedings. He has reminded timely.
If you are called, serve. Be counted. The rest is noise.