Famous just as it is infamous, revered just as it is despised; the red part of Merseyside carries the essence of Shakespearian plays. There’s a pinch of comedy with a bit of tragedy; glorious triumphs and a fair bit of romanticism (oh and the history, too). During the escalation of early 1960s, Bill Shankly entrenched the ethos of playing the Liverpool way deep. Besides having a distinctive style of play that earned admirers across the globe, Shanks laid down the holy trinity of players, the manager and supporters (Directors are only there to sign the cheques).
The famous LFC Boot Room, that created greats such as Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish and Roy Evans so as to ensure the stability in case a manager leaves. The Kop singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in full swing had everyone including Johan Cruyff full of awe and amazement. The Liverpool Way incorporated the opposition goalie being applauded by the Anfield faithful; players plucked out of lower league obscurity turning into legends; business being conducted in silence and always being humble in glory. Not to forget the historical “This Is Anfield” sign in the tunnel, intimidating the visiting team while reminding the home players what it means to wear the Liverbird upon their chest. Woes were kept inside the house as Liverpool took a giant leap under the leadership of a hardworking, down to earth and charismatic manager.
That was The Liverpool Way of a glorious past. The Boot Room was demolished later (during the forgettable reign of Souness) and Houllier, Rafa, Hodgson, Rodgers or Klopp had no relation with the concept of Boot Room. It is quite intriguing how the barren spell at Anfield coincided with the loss of the foundation on which its greatness was built.
When Jurgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool last October, not everyone was celebrating. “I’m worried,” said Alex Ferguson. One year and two finale losses later, Kloppo has built a squad that has their rivals terrified courtesy his heavy metal football. He has turned around a bunch of demotivated and uninspiring set of fans and players from doubters to believers, indeed as he had vowed.
Upon joining, JK spoke to the staff and management about what he had achieved at Dortmund and Mainz by bringing people together. Players holding hands alongside Klopp, walking towards the Kop and lifting their arms was not a celebration after securing a 2-2 draw against a lowly West Brom side. It was sheer acknowledgement of the twelfth man sucking the ball into the back of the net and earning their team a point.
Fans and players alike persistently respond to the acumen, honesty and prowess of the German. While his team strives to conquer the ball with relentless gegenpressing, Klopp encourages the fans to sing (and tells them when to stop, too) diffusing the vast amount of energy and enthusiasm among the mass. Main Stand opening has only strengthened his bond with the fans and the atmosphere around Anfield, to an entirely new level.
Following the imminent departure of scouse legends CarraGold and StevieG while Flanno warms the bench for the Clarets, JK has come a long way to ensure the Anfield faithful remain loud, proud (and scouse). The focus is no longer on an individual talent like Gerrard, Torres or Suarez but the entire squad he has assembled (alongside the blooming academy) who are terrifying oppositions all across. He’s a manager who has inspired not just the squad but the city of Liverpool to unite, stand tall and fight back against all odds. The Working class mentality etched with the club ethos alongside a never say die attitude has taken England (and Europe too) by storm. It’s the same working class mentality that saw Liverpool run 581.6 km in the first five games of the league this season. Klopp’s juggernaut have scored 24 goals in their first eight competitive games this season, their highest tally in 121 years since the 1895-96 season. While Brendan’s last Capital One Cup game saw Liverpool scraping past League Two outfit Carlisle United, JK’s Liverpool have netted 8 goals without conceding any in the two EFL games they have played so far. Klopp has repeatedly ruled out the bizarre concept of fielding a second string or weaker side in the cup games saying he always has a strong eleven on the pitch. Every competition is taken seriously (Be it Barcelona in a friendly or the likes of Burton and Derby in the EFL) and every match is approached with the same hunger (Klopp recently saying his player’s should be angry against Hull because they want take our three points, rest they say is 5-1 mauling at Anfield).
Having extended his contract till 2022 in pursuit of creating a legacy of sustained success, Klopp has hinted on how he wants to finish his career at Merseyside. The normal one has gifted Anfield with pure, raw and pulsatingly emotional footballing culture. It is true authentic love for the fans to watch the German gaffer sprinkle the magic dust with his counter pressing tactics, his hilarious pressers, his passionate sideline antics and the bear hugs he dishes out to his players (and so much more).
Jurgen Klopp is taking the team down an alternative route- The Liverpool way, just a little differently.
*Fasten your seatbelt, it is going to be one heck of a ride*