Before the time that is now, when the players that populate the squad are of the required standard and actually wanted to play for the team and manager, there existed a period where trouble, disappointment and angst occurred.
Preceding the Klopp era, the hierarchy targeted players of world-class standard and of a ilk that set them apart from the ordinary football athlete.
Each transfer window that came saw players linked with Liverpool that would set supporters’ heartbeats racing and provide an injection of quality in to the squad ranks.
Names that come to the fore include Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa, Willian, Alexis Sanchez and many others; players that are World-Class and players that would beef up the team.
What these players have in common is that they played in the Premier league; just not for Liverpool.
These players would reject the advancements made from the Reds and would either join another side, stay put at their club for one more season and then move on, partake in a merry-go-round movement or choose one’s love for a city over another as a deciding factor for a move.
This would be a familiar sight for fans and everyone associated with Liverpool: A big-name player would be linked, pulses increase rapidly, only for a deal not to come to fruition due to a high price, preference elsewhere or the weather not suiting the player’s liking.
TIMES ARE A CHANGING
When the affable German, Jurgen Klopp, joined the club he brought with him bags of charisma, experience and pulling power to lure top talent.
Though he called for patience, the highly valued latter would prove an integral part in attracting top talent to Merseyside.
The likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk, and recent recruits in the form of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Alisson Becker have expressed their admiration for the man from the Black Forest, highlighting the German being a contributing factor in their respective moves.
“I think the most important thing is the size of the club, the culture of the club, the players, the manager and obviously the fans, who make the club this special,” said Van Dijk on his move to the Reds.
Sentiments such as these have been echoed by new and existing players, indicating a love for the club and a desire to be here, a complete turnaround from the days when ex-targets shunned the prestige of the Kop for other destinations.
With the club in a much healthier position to attract and afford quality players, Jurgen Klopp at the helm, FSG willing to spend big, and superman Michael Edwards identifying and concluding deals, a glance at the squad will no more bring feelings of angst and despair, but feelings of joy, excitement and optimism.