Ethan Golding urges supporters to hope for more beautiful football and not allow expectations to set a bar so high that Jürgen Klopp’s work is overlooked.
With the World Cup now in the rearview mirror, it’s time to fully focus on the coming season. New names have come in, new teams have come up and a whole new season of Premier League Football is just around the corner.
Like with so many seasons before, the 2-18/19 season has us all reciting the usual catchphrases. “Big season this”, “One signing away from challenging”, “Silverware is a must” etc.
While for the most part it’s true, that this is a big season and we are only one world class signing away from challenging, this season is more the last of a transition period rather than the start of serious business. Since Klopp’s arrival, he has steadily improved a Liverpool side which has struggled to regularly compete for major trophies for nearly 20 years.
Beyond one night in you-know-where, Liverpool’s 21st Century has been barren. Europe’s best midfield of the late 2000s came and left with nothing to show. Probably the greatest player to shoulder the number 7 since Kenny Dalglish deserved the sun and stars but will make headlines in papers of the same name more than he made history on Merseyside.
But since Klopp’s appointment we have been treated to three finals, two of which European, and while we may have fallen short on all fronts, we have been blessed by getting there in the purest and most romantic way possible, by playing the beautiful game in a beautiful way.
Cult heroes have been made and new Kings have been crowned and all the while, teams cast more and more envious looks our way. According to TransferMarkt, Liverpool have broken their transfer record seven times since 2015. Two of those signings were made by Brendan Rodgers (Christian Benteke) the other five have come in during the two and a half years since Jurgen Klopp has taken the reigns.
World Class signings in Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, coveted talent in the form of Sadio Mané, Fabinho and Naby Keita, as well as top quality squad options such as Oxlade-Chamberlain, have transformed Liverpool.
Liverpool has become not just an inviting prospect but a preferable destination for top talent. However, with this improvement comes higher expectation, as it should but it is important to keep expectations in check. Some fans, based on the high standard of business carried out in the window thus far, may expect Liverpool to claim its first Premier League title. This is, in reality, a hope.
Like all of us, I hope we succeed in winning the league but the expectation for this year shouldn’t be much more than to close the gap on Manchester City and comfortably proceed to the latter stages of the League and FA cups.
United are sure to splash the cash at some point, Sarri is already making waves at Chelsea with the swooping signing of Jorginho, Tottenham seem unwilling to slow down despite repeatedly showing signs of faltering and Arsenal are an unknown quantity this year.
It is right to hope for glory and it is right to expect high standards and consistency but expectations can often lead to the destruction of a seemingly strong relationship. Chelsea, United and Arsenal are all examples of fan expectations not aligning with the reality of their sides.
Liverpool’s reality is that on any day we can beat any team, but we have yet to prove that we can beat every team. In the space of just two months, our starting XI has an entirely new complexion and it is important that we do not get ahead of ourselves before we have even seen Jurgen’s Redmen 3.0 kick a ball.