There is extra noise that surrounds Liverpool as they continue their title charge, but Jürgen Klopp’s Reds must continue to block it out…


PIANO carriers and piano players.

Orchestrators and orchestras.

Bassists, drummers, triangle players and larger than life frontmen who suck in presence like a gaping black hole the size of drawing 1-1 against Sheffield United on 75 minutes.

On Wednesday night, some of us – not Jürgen Klopp – had to endure Phil Foden grabbing the thing. He is the stuff of nightmares. He is currently a hat-trick version of stepping up when it matters.

I wrote about Foden and Liverpool’s equivalent recently, pondering about Darwin Nunez’s ability to fill the void.

Little did I know that player was already taking form in Alexis Mac Allister.

The Argentine has been in sumptuous form. He has become central to everything Liverpool hold dear in this current pressure cooker of a title race.

The strike last night was pure him. But then it was pure Liverpool under Klopp. It was a reminder there’s no such thing as a Thursday night in third gear. It was an opponent who decided to be grownups for a change, unsurprisingly.

But this is the enterprise, and you wouldn’t have it any other way, because it will never be this way again.

Liverpool under Klopp has become a nine-year embodiment of the festival you had to be at, or the night out you’re still talking about 20 years later.

Shankly and Paisley-isms were as much built on a concept of sweeping all before them. They were about Liverpool being a powerhouse on the pitch when Thatcher-ism was bringing a city and people to its knees off it.

As a broadly overworked millennial who remembers a life of dial-up internet and only being subjected to the worst men imaginable if you stumbled into the wrong pub, I can’t really get on board with the diatribe and fire-stoking across the platforms.

But I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed anything as emotive and romantic as this manager at this club. Alex Ferguson, peak Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona don’t begin to come close to this hothouse.

It’s in part why hatred for Liverpool has ramped up to putrid and unimaginable levels in recent times. The accusations of entitlement are spiteful, whether they be relating to the manager’s influence or an opinion of the national anthem.

On Sunday, we go to probably the worst place for that hatred to manifest. Manchester United have seemingly little time for collective decency when it comes to tragedy and poverty chanting.

They meet the inoffensive with the most hurtful bile and I have gone past the point of boycotting Old Trafford to now muting sound on the television.

There have been isolated reactions which are just as moronic and shouldn’t be excused. But what happens and inevitably will happen again at Old Trafford needs calling out.

For Liverpool, there remains a job to be done. United will do everything to repeat the FA Cup game. To put the lights on and send everyone home early from the last Klopp party.

We are in a different place to some weeks back. We have the tapes of that game, for a start. Curtis Jones is back, as is Ibrahima Konate. Liverpool might decide to do something a bit jazzy with Harvey Elliott or Cody Gakpo from the start.

It’s simply must win. It’s easier said than done when Foden has entered peak Lionel Messi form and Kai Havertz has done nothing but become a match winner once again.

It’s easier said than done when dealing with a stadium as despising and desperate as this one on Sunday.

But we have Klopp at Liverpool, and it is never ever going to be like this again, so inevitably Sunday will write another page into such romance and reality.

Win eight and we write the ultimate ending to this unbelievable story.

Strap yourselves in.


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