Comment of the Month – August 2016

Comment of the Month – August 2016
September 2, 2016 Daniel Rhodes
In Comment of the Month, Free

By Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

Here’s our monthly competition to find and reward the best comment from a selected shortlist of brilliant comments that appeared on TTT during the month.

Vote below – the winner gets a glittering trophy to raise aloft before their adoring fans, and a £20 electronic voucher.


1 – Krishen Bhautoo on Liverpool’s Chances of Dominating Again:

Taken me a while to get round to reading this and really top stuff as usual.

One thing I disagree on is that you don’t think we’ll ever get to the ‘top’ again ala 80s and Utd through the 90s/2000s.

I think we can at least reach a level of being one of the top two in the country for a long period. Let me explain.

There are only a few clubs in the world that can say that they are even remotely close to our fan base in terms of numbers (Italian champions and recent CL finalists, Juve played Tott who have finished ahead of us 5 out of 6 seasons and are in the CL, at the MCG in Oz, drawing 31,500. We had 95,000 Reds a couple of years back).

There is something special we have that very few other clubs have. You can’t buy it (Che and City). You can’t get it with a 5 yr plan like Tott. You can’t get it by just being around the top for long enough like Ars.

You have to earn it over decades. Like we and (begrudgingly and more recently) Utd have. That builds your ‘brand’. That gives you support. Where else in the world would a 4-3 vs Dortmund have happened? Or Olympiakos? Or Istanbul? Or West Ham? Major major sporting events (not just the odd league game, but PROPERLY important games). I can’t think of any team having as many ‘moments’ as us. Samuel L Jackson tweeted about us after the Barca friendly. Griezmann did after Dortmund. Cafu supports us (though I think Flanno’s ‘Scouse Cafu’ label helped!).

We are something special in an increasingly soulless sport.

I genuinely believe that if we kick on as I expect us to under Klopp (on the pitch) and FSG (off it) over the next 5-10 years, we will/can be a financial behemoth able to go toe to toe with most clubs in the world financially (putting my (soulless) commercial hat on for a sec).

Utd did this, but ballsed it up towards the end of Fergie’s reign (yes I know he won the league in his last year, but what a mess that squad was. So much wasted money, rarely replenishing ageing/sold talent – let alone the debt). Then Mr Moyes turned up and nearly became their Souness. LVG tried to fuck it up, but Mou will do that properly after an initial flurry of success.

I don’t really know what we will do this season. We CAN win the league for all the reasons listed above. But we can equally (or more likely?) finish 6th for all the reasons listed above. But I have never been so content with the club on and off the pitch. Content isn’t the word. Enthused.

We have always managed to get something wrong in the past.

Winning but ageing side dismantled and ineffectually reconstructed by Souness, even though we were the big boys, we messed it up.

Moores and Parry were dinosaurs with big hearts but small brains for the new footballing landscape, letting us lag behind the growing power down the road.

Evans, was fun and was backed financially, though I never got the sense he was ever really in ‘control’ of his team. More that his strategy was to put as many good players out there as you can, and see what happens (I could be wrong as was quite young at the time).

Houllier gave us a stable foundation to build from. Brought professionalism and strategic thinking to the club, and of course 5 trophies in 6 months (until he went a bit loopy and stayed one season too long).

Rafa came in and took us to another level. Moores and Parry realising they couldn’t take us beyond that sold up to H&G  – and we all know what happened there. Rafa’s reign came to an end, then we had the Hodge.

Bleakest time of my football life. On the pitch it was shite. Off the pitch was arguably worse. Relegation zone. 10 point deduction looming. Then ‘saviours’:

FSG arrived and ‘saved us’ from the precipice of potentially ‘doing a Leeds’. And I say ‘saved us’ because they didn’t buy us because they were fans, they saw an opportunity – and I don’t blame them as they have generally been good owners IMHO. Binned Hodge. Got the Babelcopter out of storage to fetch Kenny and the season was saved from complete and utter ruin. (I still wish Rafa was able to hang on six more months and had a chance to work under FSG. That could have been special – alas, we shall never know).

Statement of intent was made. Kenny was kept on. Comolli brought in. Big money was spent. On some questionable buys (but included Hendo and Suarez).

The Comolli/Kenny axis of football was disbanded for BR and the committee (that were on garden leave from City for a season). Always a risky appointment. Rookie manager with rookie owners and no one at the club to ‘do the football stuff’ off the pitch. But it soooooooo nearly worked (with thanks to a Comolli signing or two).

But that went wrong. Wrong manager at the wrong time. I think the club were too much of a project for BR who was yet to develop into the manager to be able to handle the ups and downs. A more seasoned pro may have been able to ride out the difficult times, finding solutions (not trial and error) or even just pointing to medals to buy time and confidence from the players/board. BR had a few nails in the coffin (Villa at Wembley. 6-1 vs Stoke. The stodge fest at the start of 15/16. Inability to manage in Europe. etc). He repeated his Reading errors – initially swashbuckling football turning into dour Mouball when results weren’t going his way.

But all this is water under the bridge.

We now have one of the top managers in the world.

If you were to pick a list of attributes for someone to takeover Liverpool, they’d come in a spectacled 6’4″ German package with two mates called Peter and Zeljko.

– Track record of building a squad. Check

– Track record of being able to find unpolished gems and develop them into stars. Check

– Track record of playing football ‘the Liverpool way’. Check

– Track record of staying at clubs for the long term without jumping ship to a ‘bigger’ club. Check

– Track record of working on a budget. Check

– Tracking record of fighting for his club. Check (I love his stance on the S*n and the backing of Lovren)

– Someone who gets the club, the city and most importantly, the fans. Check

– A manager who has just the right amount of ‘Fuck You’ that migrates to the players and fans. Check

– Track record of winning! Check

There is nobody in the world I’d have over Klopp. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that I’m not secretly pining for Rafa anymore.

If (WHEN!!!) we win the league in the next 2-3 seasons, I can see us developing the character of the old Liverpool. The way Utd were in the 90s/early 2000s. We are going to win. If you want to beat us, you’ll know about it because you will have a 90 min fight on your hands and every single one of your players will be feeling that battle for weeks. That is the only way you will get anything from us. We won’t roll over for anybody.

This is when I think we can kick on to becoming a dynasty.

The off pitch stuff is beginning to take care of itself. Sponsorship is increasing (more so when we win the league!). I expect the stadium to be expanded again in a year or two (I suspect planning is already underway with much of it discussed and boxed off during ‘Phase One’). TV money and CL money will come with time. As much as some may not like them, I trust FSG to take care of us financially. Prudently and steadily without the need for funding from oil or dodgy sponsorship deals. The ‘proper’ way.

I suspect our worldwide support is waning with the casual fan around the world, but we will win them back with the progress we will make in the coming seasons and, more importantly(?), we will build a new base of ‘proper’ Reds. The kind of Reds who tune in at 4am when they have to leave for work at 7am. The kind of Reds who would never dream of changing teams. The kind of Reds that don’t give their children a choice in who they support.

The first league title will, not only get the monkey off our back, but will propel us back onto the big stage.

We will prob never be the attraction that Barca or Real are. Nor will we be in London. And the Manchester clubs will almost certainly pay more money. But we won’t need any of that.

We will be Liverpool back on the map. Players will be wanting to come here. If they want money or London or weather, as Klopp says, stay away. We will have a queue of young, hungry, talented players wanting to join us for the proper reasons.

The club. The fans. Being part of something special that you don’t get anywhere else.

I’m not only excited for this season, but for the next ten or more. Good times ahead. Enjoy the ride.

2 – Jeff was mystified by some of the negative reaction to the opening weekend win at Arsenal:

I need some help. I spent a goodly amount of time reading this thread this morning and my impression from reading so many comments is that Liverpool not only lost on Sunday but lost badly. Somehow it seems that simply winning a match is just not good enough these days which is something that is completely beyond me. If people are this unhappy after a win, I dread to think about how unhappy they will be after a loss.

To me the goal of the players on the pitch is to win the match and the players on the pitch won the match on Sunday. To me every player on the pitch made mistakes at some point in the match and this happens each and every match I have ever seen. Now the goal of Klopp and his coaches and all the players is to make fewer mistakes in the next match and not to make the same mistakes in the next match and so on and so forth.

It seems that a goodly number of people want Liverpool to just go out and buy a left-back to replace Alberto M and there are those who want Clyne to be replaced also. Now, who out there is available in either position at a price that Liverpool want to pay in terms of fees and weekly wages and who want to come to Liverpool. If you know for a fact who is actually available and could be purchased for a price that Liverpool will pay either in terms of transfer fees and wages and who IN FACT is a better player than either Alberto M or Clyne, please contact the transfer committee immediately.

Unless there is a surprise or surprises in the next week and a half, Clyne and Alberto M will be the starting full-backs for Liverpool this season and EVERY supporter needs to get behind them and the player and the coaches need to work with them to help make them better players. Simply put, unless something happens this better be what happens because these are the players who will be Liverpool’s full-backs this season.

3 – Anthony Stanley’s reaction to news of possible Chinese investment in Liverpool FC; take the money and try to do it another way:

It’s a tough one and one that, on a metaphorical level, goes right to the heart of the human condition: would you make a Mephistophelean deal to obtain your absolute heart’s desire?  Part of being a Liverpool fan, part of the magic of the club, is the dichotomy which exists between our heritage and history and the fact that we’re not a bloated corporate beast like United or a virtual lottery winner like Chelsea and City, clubs that were apparently plucked on a whim to be billionaire’s playthings.

It allows us the moral high ground.  We can loftily say that we’re doing it the right way, the Liverpool way.  It’s why 13/14 still hurts me to be honest.  Against all the odds, we nearly did it.  Nearly overcame the big hitters, the titans of our domestic game, to win the title.  And then Leicester showed up.

But don’t get me started on that particular bone of contention.  What is the Liverpool way?  Are we happy to revel in this semi-mythical state of being.  I have come to believe that the way of our club is rooted in conservatism (sometimes with a capital C) and this very state of being, this very fabric of the football club is responsible for us being left behind.  Sure, we can blame Souness, we can blame the twin tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough (and in a very real way these H-bombs had us falling of our perch), but the reality is that we fell behind because we failed to move with the times.  A succession of owners, custodians of a unique institution, displayed chronic and myopic lack of foresight.  Just when the cash cow of the Premier League (or Premiership as it was then called, I think) was generating hitherto unimaginable amounts of cash, we took our eye of the ball.  Nearly thirty years later, we’re still recovering.  Or at least playing catch up (and whatever your viewpoint on FSG, there can be no denying that they have made vast strides in this area).

But still we have our moral high ground.   Still we can sniff with fatalistic ease at United shelling out frankly bonkers amounts of money for Pogba and City spending 100 million on two English youngsters that, for all their talent, are nowhere near the finished article.  We may feel disquiet, we may be worried but we console ourselves with the knowledge that we’re doing it the ‘right’ way.  The Liverpool way.  We massage our troubled spirits with this fact, it keeps us sane, it stops us from being completely terrified at the billions being spent, it helps us sleep, this awareness that we’re unique.  That we don’t need to do what our rivals do, we’re not interested in being the spoiled child who, shorn of what they think is naturally theirs, stamp a metaphorical foot and usher in a Pogba, Sterling or Stones.

That we don’t need to do what our rivals do.

But maybe, in this brave new world where money has never talked with such deafening dissonance, we do.

It’s long been a theme on this site: the correlation between wages, net spend and league finishing position.  All summer (every summer), I’ve told myself that we can buck this trend, as we have before, as the Foxes did, and win the league.  If any club can conjure magic from the jaws of grim reality, it’s the Reds.  But the actual reality I’m slowly waking up to is that Leicester beat us to the punch.  The rode the wave of their magic carpet last season, took advantage of a storm that may never be as perfect again and won the league.

It still makes me a little sick.  I didn’t buy into the romance.  I’m not into romance, unless it’s in a red shirt.

So we ask ourselves can the anomaly be repeated.  Can Liverpool, simultaneously a salve and an irritant in the past few decades, somehow win the league with our current model.

I’m only in it to win the league.  I’m making myself dizzy from repeating this, but I’m only in it to win the league.  Fourth?  No interest.  None.  I want the big one, I want our bread and butter back.  I want to bask in Liverpool Football Club being referred to as champions for an entire year.  To sip a pint and toast the Reds as champions of England.  I’ve never done that and I want it so badly it sometimes scares me.  In the world we live in, in the troubling society that modern life has become, surely we have to have grander goals and more laudable objectives?

Nope, that league is all I want.  World peace would be nice though, to be fair.

But in my more sober and pessimistic states, I sometimes feel that, in our current guise, one of the above happening is as likely as the other.

I drove home at ten o’clock last night, feeling deflated but trying to be positive.  And the truth is that the ‘breaking news’ of a possible takeover or the club selling a stake, had me excited.  These rumours have been swirling around for months and, judging from numerous podcasts I’ve listened to, there is concrete to them.  So part of me wanted it to happen.   Whenever the Reds lose my vast catalogue of podcasts which sustain me through long commutes goes out the window.  Last night an audiobook accompanied me home from work.  But constantly I asked myself, would I sell my soul for my heart’s desire?  Is the  oft quoted ‘Liverpool Way’ as substantial as the idea of a soul in the modern world?  Does it really even exist anymore in the universe of instant gratification, forty character tweets and money – or the idea of money – drowning everything?

I don’t know the answers and it troubles me.  My wife asked me last night can we win the league anytime in the next decade.  I found myself answering that we probably won’t as the odds are too big.  We may go close – and glorious failure is as much a part of our recent DNA as glorious triumph – but we probably won’t be able to upset the odds like those pesky Foxes did.  Lightening won’t strike twice.

So I think we need investment.  I don’t want us trying to hoover up all the best players like some demented cocaine addled binger (it made me sick when Chelsea did that lark twelve years ago).  But if we can offer a couple of lads two hundred grand a week to come and score goals for the Reds, to come and thrill us, to help us to dance again, I’m all for that.

So I suppose I would sell my soul.  For that Premier League title, I’d do just about anything.  And maybe the club, if they ever wish to win the thing, have to make the Mephistophelean  deal themselves.  We’ve already started down the road with the devil, the Liverpool Way, in this modern playground, has become diluted anyway.  Maybe we have to make our peace with the fact that we have to go all the way.

4 – Anthony Stanley again. After the Burnley defeat, he examined the impact our fanbase can have on our managers – including Klopp:

Harold Wilson famously said that a week is a long time in politics; in football, it’s an absolute eternity.

Last week, buoyancy and positivity was in danger of morphing into hysterical over-expectation.  That’s seven days ago.  I’m not immune to this but then, I’m always overly optimistic, particularly at this stage of any campaign.  But what I will never do is oscillate, like some schizophrenic, spoilt drama queen, between saying we’re in with a shout of winning the league with this manager, to decrying and denigrating his decisions and his team’s performance.

All in the space of seven days.

I know a guy who sent me a message last Sunday afternoon at 4.30 saying we’re going to win the league; last night, after the Sakho news broke, my opinion was sought.  Has Klopp lost the plot, was the question.  I’ve yet to reply.

All fans have their share of twats, all supporting groups range from the calm and considered to the raucous, salivating and reactionary trolls who seem more concerned with being right than their team actually winning.  There’s a whole host of idiosyncrasies between these relative extremes.  I’m sure we all swallowed the myth at some stage, you know, the one that claims that Liverpool supporters are the best in the world.  Well, like most myths, a little knowledge dispels the magic, stops us fans from sharpening our tools made of stone and worshiping the sun as an omnipotent deity.  There are some great fans that I’ve met on the likes of Twitter, and the vast majority on this site are a calm and measured type of supporter.

But some Liverpool fans make me almost physically ill.

You can accuse me of having a sense of entitlement as I babble on constantly about my desire to win the league.  I don’t think that is entitlement though, at least not the mode displayed by this cadre of cacophonous and callow loons.  There’s a difference between hoping against hope for something that is unlikely and demanding success based on ignorance.

Klopp is being questioned now by some of our fans base.  Paul, you put it far better than I ever could in your article  but let’s just let that sink in: some – and by no means a tiny minority – are questioning Jurgen Klopp.  Ten months after he walked into Anfield, surrounded by a shining light of messianic fervour bestowed on him by all supporters.  Man crushes were the norm.  Liverpool fans lapped up everything he said.  Be like Jurgen, Jurgen is a believer.  A manager who united a fan base for the first time since quite possibly Kenny’s initial return in January 2010 is now witnessing how poison that fan base can become.

We have to stop doubting, we have to believe.  That’s what Klopp said (or words to that effect).  Because he knew, the Liverpool manager knew, even during that unveiling, what this club can do to managers.  We’re a conduit of unique magic when we’re good, when things are on song.  In short, when we believe.

We’re a potential graveyard for managers when we don’t believe, or even when that first whispering of doubt caresses the back of your mind.

In 2009, as Liverpool went toe to toe with one of the best Manchester Unites squads ever assembled, as we racked up enough points to win the Premier League in a lot of seasons before and since, there were some who proudly attended Anfield with ‘Rafa out’ T-shirts on.

Because, just like now, they thought they knew best, they were incapable of seeing beyond the prism of their own carefully constructed confirmation bias.

In the summer of 2012, when it looked briefly that we may be getting Rafa back, I had an argument with my then boss.  He claimed Benitez was ‘inept’.  They were the actual words.  His reasoning was that he had taken a squad that was superior to that of 2005 to the final of 2007’s Champion’s League and couldn’t win it.  That is what he actually said.

And that type of moronic verbal vomiting, is what we’re up against.  For my sanity I’m off Twitter for a while.  It can be a great resource but there’s just too many gibbering morons spouting vacuous and ill-informed nonsense.

But I’m worried.  Not about any direction Klopp is going in, but in the direction that we may push him.  We can criticise, we can wonder, that’s fine.  But something occurred to me yesterday as I watched the German as he faced the media: he looks a bit haggard, he’s definitely less forthcoming, certainly less charming than he was ten months ago.  He actually looked to have aged, and that’s another thing we do.  We’re like a vast, collective vampiric consciousness, sucking the vitality from our managers as they seek desperately to satisfy our often unrealistic cravings.

Is it too much to ask that Liverpool fans don’t actually ruin another manager? That we try and trust in his record and in his methods?  Because – and here’s possibly my biggest fear – if Klopp can’t get it right.  If someone that is an absolute perfect fit for our unique club, can’t return us to a place were we can challenge, than just where do we go to then?

5 – In reply to the above, Assif posted this comment:

I think Anthony hits the nail on the head there. My real fear is not that Klopp ever gets sacked but more that he gets fed up and walks. And that is based on what I’ve seen of him in the media.

Since Klopp has come to England I don’t think he’s ever looked completely relaxed to me (and a lot of things about English football culture seem to really visibly grate on him). That’s understandable because, as we all know, the man is fiercely competitive and wants to be a winner. Every single game.

His star was slightly tarnished after his last season in Germany and his methods came under scrutiny. I’m sure in his eyes he hasn’t achieved anything yet with LFC and he probably cannot “relax” until he gets the monkey off his back. In his mind he needs to prove himself. As far as I’m concerned his achievements last season (despite all the injuries and no pre-season/full season in charge) were pretty exceptional considering the circumstances. We almost won 2 cups and finished within touching distance of 4th despite our exploits in the cup competitions.

Pretty remarkable in hindsight.

I just hope Klopp gets the time from the fanbase because he and all the players need all the support they can get right now. We forget that this is still a young group and we have yet to see what the new version of a Klopp XI looks like becuase of injuries.

The timing of Leicester’s league win could not have come at the worst time in many respects. Not only did a limited team overcome all the financial odds and popular belief that a leap from 14th to 1st was practically impossible. But it’s also the way they held their nerve to see out the run-in with a defensively solid base which emphasised (and continue to do so) our own frailties. To add insult to injury it raised expectations to completely unrealistic  levels as much of the fan base consoled themselves with the fact that 2015-16 was a transitional season and 2016-17 would be our year with Klopp finally having his own team.

The trouble with that thinking is that Klopp needs to now get his new look team up to speed and make his style instinctive for the players. That takes time, it’s simply not realistic to expect that to happen overnight. Leicester had zero expectation on them last season, they were always the underdog. That’s not the case with LFC. To suggest that, because Klopp now has his own players, he should be challenging for the league title is simply ridiculous. His plan is to make LFC an attacking, front foot team of incredible intensity and to overcome 4-5 direct rivals most of whom have far superior and frankly incredible spending power and wage-paying power . It means we need to be tight at the back but also be so good in attack that we can break down parked buses week after week.

If that’s not the most overwhelming challenge in world league football the it’s right up there. In fact it’s practically mission impossible and is a job that may take years to bear fruition. The problem is it also means that because of the expectation levels, every setback is going to be treated as a disaster by media and fans alike. And that’s what will wear Klopp down and make him ask himself if it’s all worth it. Right now the hysteria doesn’t bode well but let’s hope he sticks it out.

I wanted to comment also on the criticism of Klopp’s methods because in many ways we are missing the point. In my opinion there are valid criticisms of any manager. There is no such thing as the perfect manager or the perfect football team. There are too many variables involved for that. It’s about being good enough to deliver your targets with the resources available, no frills if need be. Guardiola gets flack, as does Simeone, Mourinho, Benitez, Conte, Ancelotti and so on. A modern manager cannot rest on his laurels because the opposition refine their tactics so quickly to counter a “winning formula”, that a manager has to constantly adapt and evolve his methods. That’s why there are so few world class managers, amongst which I would rate Klopp as one of them. But Mourinho, Guardiola, Benitez, Klopp, they’ve all had to revisit their approach in recent years as their tactics have been countered.

For me it doesn’t matter what a manager and his team has achieved in the past. In a new role they start from zero but with the respect that they deserve from having a proven ability to deliver results. Klopp and his team are no good for what they did 3-4 years ago, it’s what they do now that counts. As long as they are challenging themselves and showing evidence of learning from past mistakes then that is all we can hope for. Taking the best things from what they did before but also mitigating for the things that weren’t done so well. Easier said than done.

Klopp has shown that he is thinking about our defensive play, our attacking play, our fitness issues. In short he’s learning and adapting and there were signs of that in our play last season. That’s good enough for me. There’s also a certain point that when a number of managers are failing at a club that you have to ask whether the players or the structure of the club is good enough. But we’ve been here before and it feels like things are slowly moving forward.

But let’s not forget that this year is effectively year zero for Klopp. It’s only now that he has his own team. He really should be showing us this season that we have a team capable of finishing close to the title-winning team. It’s not really until next season that a genuine title bid could be considered as a reasonable target. Look at the way Guardiola, Mourinho, Conte have already hit the ground running. Leicester was truly an abnormal event in my eyes. I think we’re seeing a return to the status quo.

The question should not be whether Klopp is showing the signs of being a perfect manager. It’s more about “is what Klopp knows good enough to get LFC where we need to be?”. 2 games in to the season with his self-professed “own team”, albeit missing certain of his “own” players, and the hysteria is ridiculous.

If Klopp cannot be given time by the fanbase, there’s a real chance that we become a feeder club; one that can never gain stability or grow a team and squad to blossom over the medium to long term. We all want success now. But our desires are unrealistic and will probably lead to disappointment. Let’s trust the manager but let performances rather than results determine, in the short term at least, whether we are on the right track or not. If the performances are good then the results will follow.

6 – Jimbomac decided it’s time Klopp had his full support and belief:

I think Paul’s ‘Intervention’ article is probably one of the most valuable that has come from the site. I suppose my response to it could go on that page but it feels like it might get lost there and this is also written in the context of last nights win (although I had been formulating a lot of this in my mind since losing to Burnley).

I think Jurgen is our best shot at getting to the top. I have looked at him to do this and have almost demanded rapid enjoyment. But seeing some of the responses to our loss (and the negativity seems to continue in some quarters even after the League Cup win) it set something off in my mind that said I have to date just been ‘with’ Jurgen for the wins, not the defeats. I’ve basically been treating Jurgen like a Chelsea manager – get in, get the results, if not get out. No time to build. This is how I treated Hodgson, to an extent how I treated Rodgers. Its also how I treated Roy Evans when I was young and just thought we should win every game, especially with the backdrop of recent success.

With Houllier it was different. He exuded confidence, had a plan, pointed to the future – I remember after losing to Man Utd he said ‘we will beat them soon’: I believed him and we did. Then next up Rafa had a plan. Instant success gave him credibility but again it took years to build the machine. We had losses to Burnley in the FA Cup, struggling against Deportivo in the champions league group stage, losing the League cup final, Michael Owen departing. This was all in season one and there were countless other setbacks along the way, but Rafa had a plan and I supported him as such.

I’ve gone through something of a change from being a child saying we should win all the time to an adolescent backing a charismatic leader over the long term, to something of a cynic having seen a recent succession of managers change and to varying degrees fail. And I think there are some parallels when you look at the decline of the clubs success and the attitude of some areas of the fan base. What ive done is move away from blind faith, because im a bit scared and I think that if I had only had less blind faith perhaps we could have got rid of Hicks, Gillett, Hodgson and maybe even Rodgers sooner. But what I hadn’t considered is that we would also have been rid of Houllier and Benitez (and Shankly) with that attitude.

FSG and Klopp need a bit of blind faith to allow them to work. I was scared reading supporters comments post Burnley and seeing the impact it had on Klopp – the guy seemed genuinely surprised and frustrated. We don’t want to chase him off. He could be our best chance at significant improvements. What happens if after one year we decide hes not good enough, or more likely he decides hes had enough at getting the most out of a limited squad (good but not title winning standard) and that Liverpool famous fans are actually impatient, loud complainers? How do you fix that situation?

Im going to give Jurgen my best from now on. I don’t know as much as him so he is better placed to make decisions about the club. There is as ever a chance that im supporting the wrong person and that there is a risk I make things worse by backing the wrong horse for longer, but in our position in terms of wealth as a club we need to give someone time. At some point you need to not think about the fear or potential pain, don’t think he might be a Hodgson or a Hicks. I am now looking at Jurgen thinking this is my guy for the next few years. He can lose at Spurs, he can lose the next couple of games, he can finish 7th this season. If someone told you a manager turned around an 8th place team to being title contenders during his tenure and then told you in his first full season there was not a dramatic leap in performance you wouldn’t say ‘no that’s ridiculous I don’t believe it’.

My neighbour has recently had some work done on their house. At the moment they are at the stage where a bit of it has been knocked down before they can build it up again. It looks a mess, they have gone backwards, they have hit obstacles like unforeseen hard rock in the clay, but if you back the builder and the plan and the person paying the you can see it will get better. Jurgen the builder – can he fix it? Probably, but if he is going to he needs time and crucially time allied with vocal positive support.

We cant sit back and say ill wait until the good times roll and then back you (I’ve been partly guilty of this). From now I’m opening myself up for the hits, the pain, the disappointment of backing this team every day and in every game. I will also look at results positively because I think theres a great chance Klopp can do something really good at Anfield. This means theres a chance I backed the wrong horse – all managers fail sometimes – but that’s the risk I’m taking.

Lets not drive Klopp out, lets keep him here. I’ve been wearing some Liverpool shirts I had from the Rafa era, and I do love them but they also represented security and a team that had a guaranteed level of performance because Rafa’s team has played its last games (if you want to see how good it is you don’t need to check upcoming fixtures, you just look it up!). From now I will say I support Liverpool, I back Jurgen, I will give him time. If he wants to sell Sakho or Coutinho or Firmino or Can I’ll back him. If he wants to sign Shane Long or Wayne Roo…OK there are limits.

He knows more than me, he has an astounding record and he is in charge of our club. Im not nit picking with him, im support him. Consider the intervention in my attitude successful – Jurgen, I’m with you.

7 – Tony Howard had these interesting observations to make about Twitter fume, in Paul’s article on same:

Great article. Also some excellent responses in the comments – this is a refreshing place to come for a read!

Two thoughts of mine – neither of them particularly profound, but they seem to me to have something to do with explaining the dreadful trollfest of anger and negativism which is now the world of football fan social media:

(1) A culture has grown up where it is considered macho for Twitter people (for example) to take advantage of their perceived anonymity and “tell things how they really are”. This is invariably negative, often unnecessarily abusive, and the effect is that of a madhouse filled with guys who are like the Angry Frank character that Harry Enfield used to portray on telly. It isn’t macho – it’s childish and pig-ignorant.  There is, or there used to be, a rule of thumb for the etiquette of emails and correspondence in the military, and it has (or had) a lot of merit: it was along the lines of “never write anything which you would not say aloud to a room full of the same audience”. Making some extreme remark online (which includes illegal stuff, like racism etc) or simply an inappropriately impolite one (like the turd-brains who still harass John Henry’s wife) is not OK – the fact that no-one can get hold of the perpetrator does not make it OK, it just makes it cowardly.

(2) Selling our souls. Anyone can support any team they like, for whatever reason – that’s good and fine. I support LFC because I was born in Princes Park and I always have supported them – I live far away now, and rarely get to a game, but it is still a serious matter of faith. I knew a woman who supported Villa all her life because she liked their colours. Fair enough. The problem comes with the shape shifters – the guys who become fans of a successful team entirely because that team is very successful, so they can become part of a winning army. I can see the excitement in that, but the regalia, the season tickets, the travel all cost a great deal – this is a big showbiz production, after all – and if that team slips, even a bit, then we are talking betrayal. What happens when you make a deal with the devil and he doesn’t keep his word? [And did we expect him to, by the way?] Fans who have committed fortunes of money and a lot of love to a team which fails to deliver have no guarantee to fall back on. That’s when the anger comes, when the silly talk takes over – “I have sold my soul to this team (whichever), and they are not winning as I was led to expect – moreover, my mates are laughing at me – I am betrayed and I want blood”. I always wonder where the nouveaux Chelsea fans will go on a Saturday if Abramovic gets fed up and decides to put his money into power boat racing or something, instead. Will they all go back to following Brentford, QPR, Charlton, no-one? Bless them all.

8 – Madchenkliop with these fascinating thoughts about the effect of the internet:

Just soooo fascinating this thread!  Actually changing the way I think about things.

One thing that comes again and again, is that, through the internet, (including this site), we are getting better at filtering out things we don’t want to hear.  And irrespective of what your interests are, you are likely to be able to find a great many people who think the same way as you do.  Well it’s now occurring to me that this must be the case for EVERYONE who uses the internet – whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn supporters, Vote Leave supporters, paedophiles, Chelsea fans, E sports gamers, or devotees of Donald Trump.  It’s quite disturbing.

Virtually every shade of opinion is going to find a sympathetic ear and presumably that’s why people go on social media – to boost their own sense of identity. But not through just bleating.  The bit we don’t see is there is a response which makes everyone feel vindicated.  To surround yourself with people like you.  It doesn’t even matter if your group represents anything remotely meaningful.  What matters is to say what you are not!

” I’m not INTELLECTUAL, not an APOLOGIST, not a SELF APPOINTED LEADER, not ESTABLISHMENT”.   I reckon that explains why Paul gets given such a hard time on Twitter – he can easily be read as someone not to be like. In effect, like the smart kid at school who may get teacher brownie points but is never going to be ‘one of us’; the cool kids. It is basically bullying.

We all do it.  It’s just we choose targets we find everyone will find acceptable or fair game.  I’ve contributed to vicious attacks on this site against many establishment figures like Danny Mills, Jimmy Hill and Danny Murphy on this very thread for instance.) Truth be told, I don’t think Murphy is a complete idiot by any means, or has an agenda and I do attempt to be specific in my criticisms, but it is so easy to veer into colourful language that is perhaps going to get me more likes or followers.

What you don’t get on the internet,(without researching,) is a sense of scale.  There’s a lot of people just throwing mud to see if it will stick. The act of getting a bandwagon rolling becomes more important than the content and when stuff does ‘go viral’ the original meaning can be lost.

It would be fascinating to do a study of what actually happened to Paul’s paragraph from the above article that went viral.  Obviously there’s the business side of authorship and wanting to attract people to the site, but how much debate did it stimulate?  And when it got quoted without his name on, did the twitter twats respond positively? Personally, I think you can’t underestimate the power to actually affect real positive change in how people think about stuff on social media.  It might be chaotic and full of wild beasts in the forest, but the good part of that wilderness is that even though we group together in our factions, thoughts can still bridge the divides.  That might be worrying when it’s mindless neurosis spreading across the virtual terraces, but it can also go the other way, with a calming diaspora of common sense.

Comment of the Month: August 2016

  • Krishen Bhautoo on Liverpool's chances of dominating again (32%, 33 Votes)
  • Anthony Stanley again. After the Burnley defeat, he examined the impact our fanbase can have on our managers - including Klopp (14%, 14 Votes)
  • Jimbomac decided it's time Klopp had his full support and belief (13%, 13 Votes)
  • Jeff was mystified by some of the negative reaction to the opening weekend win at Arsenal (12%, 12 Votes)
  • Anthony Stanley's reaction to news of possible Chinese investment in Liverpool FC; take the money and try to do it another way (11%, 11 Votes)
  • Madchenkliop with these fascinating thoughts about the effect of the internet (9%, 9 Votes)
  • Assif's reply, about Klopp and the importance of the future (not the past) (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Tony Howard had these interesting observations to make about Twitter fume (4%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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