Liverpool 2.0. It is a real buzzword at the moment. The concept is filling us up with all of the giddiness we should feel having been through the most joyous rollercoaster a football fan can go through once already.
When Jurgen Klopp signed his two-year contract extension last April, he credited his wife Ula for having played a significant role in the decision. The fans loved it and rightly so. Seeing the manager’s family so settled on Merseyside was one less reason to consider even the prospect of him leaving.
That decision, however, came at a time when it couldn’t have been easier for Klopp to commit his future. Liverpool was on the brink of unfathomable history. There was no reason to believe his side was going to slow down in their quest for greatness. What followed over the next twelve months could have given him reasonable cause for doubt over whether he had done the right thing.
The Reds fell short of a quadruple by a mere handful of bounces. One of those quests was felled by a goalkeeping performance for the ages by Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois. It was a heartbreaking way to fall short. The mental and physical toll that could be seen in the players was arguably even more obvious with our boss.
We went on to fall out of the Champions League places for the first time in a full season under Klopp’s stewardship. At the time, that felt like the world was falling on us. Perhaps though it was a blessing in disguise.
He now looks hungrier than ever. Jurgen is a man with a new lease on life thanks to a couple of minor tweaks that somehow made the squad look unrecognizable.
2.0 From The Get-Go
We have seen his first-string players come through a tricky opening ten fixtures. They once again look capable of going toe-to-toe with Man City once again. This isn’t something many people backed us to do back in the summer.
Klopp has also made a perfect start with his League Cup and Europa League campaigns. His “midweek” teams probably would breeze by the likes of Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool in seasons gone by.
The phrases “Liverpool 2.0” and “Liverpool Reloaded” are being thrown around as though an entirely new team was shipped in overnight. Perhaps in reality though, what we are witnessing is Jurgen Klopp 2.0.
A Rarified Modern Era
The boss is very rarely criticized. It almost feels like treachery to do so. But one thing that has been leveled at him in the past is the notion of being overly loyal. He routinely let players lose their legs on our books rather than elsewhere.
It was taken out of his hands this summer. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson became part of the Premier League exodus to Saudi Arabia. These departures added to the surgery that was already in the process of being carried out.
Football managers rarely get anywhere near the length of time Jurgen Klopp has had in the Anfield hot seat. We are all still praying that the end is still somewhere far in the distance. Being able to continually excel while working through changes is nothing short of a miracle in football. Even through a rough patch, our boss now seems as energized as ever and that can only stand us in good stead.
Staying Mentally Tough
Troughs happen in football. It might feel as though they shouldn’t because the peaks have been so high, but the sport works in cycles and teams can capitalize on good timing. They can also cash in on the misfortune of others. There is no better demonstration of that than Leicester’s 2016 title win.
What Liverpool has got, that no other club in the country apart from City, is the muscle memory and firepower to sustain a 38-game challenge. Right now, Tottenham and Arsenal are North London pretenders. This year may be the one they prove themselves capable of going the distance but as of now, they haven’t shown the lung capacity that this Liverpool side has shown.
It is going to be a fun ride as always. We were told last season that all good things come to an end. But this next thing might just be even better than the last!