Liverpool and The Holy Grail
There’s a lot of noise currently being made about how this is Liverpool’s best run in the League since 1990. Which, of course, was the last time Liverpool won the title, under the legendary, Kenny Dalglish. The former player and manager was watching on in the stands with a knowing smile that this is indeed a very good side.
There’s a growing confidence of destiny in the hallways of Anfield. It can be seen on the pitch through the resilience and togetherness of the players and the squad overall. The man management of Jürgen Klopp with his now famous Klopp hugs and clenched fist towards the Liverpool fans in the away end show an astute awareness of how to get the best out of the players. Such harmonious balance is a rarity in this modern era of the game. A time when players are constantly slated and criticized for their antics on social media. As long as nothing affects the players form on the pitch Klopp’s approach is to treat players with the respect and maturity they’ve earned. There’s a special bond there, which is apparent to all, in stark contrast to Jose Mourinho, who habitually loses the dressing room of many of the clubs he’s managed.
People were aghast when Dejan Lovren gave an interview prior to the Wolves game in which certain media sources were quick to take the things he said out of context. Notably that Liverpool could go unbeaten this season, after all, Arsenal did it in 2003/04. It was twisted and reported by some media outlets that he’d claimed we will go unbeaten the entire season. He did not say this. After the latest win over Wolves, Liverpool now have 48 points from a possible 51, and are unbeaten in all 18 games so far. Naturally, players are confident, and it’s reflected in the results. It’s still a bit premature to be discussing a Premier League title at this stage of the season though. Forget the facts that a team that’s top of the table at Christmas time usually goes on the win the Premier League, it didn’t happen for us during the 2013/14 season under Brendan Rodgers, nor two other times since 1990.
A New Professionalism
This is a different Liverpool, with a different manager with some world class players, committed to the cause as reflected in renewed contracts. The appointment of Michael Edwards as Sporting Director is a vital cog in the mechanism of the Liverpool machine. The more savvy approach of FSG is a complete contrast to the bleak days of Hicks and Gillett. There’s no cloud hanging over the club. Nothing to distract the players and manager. The professionalism of the way the club’s run with a nutrition specialist, head of fitness coach and a first-team development coach is reaping dividends with the level of performance on the pitch. There is a quiet confidence among the fans and indeed the players themselves, understandably so. This is one of the strongest squads seen for a long time, it already has two players whom I think are in with a shout of being PFA Player of the Year come May 2019, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson.
It is of course a team effort and a long way yet to go.