How Jurgen Klopp’s beautiful evolution led Liverpool back to the top – and led fans to believe again

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So the day finally came, a day many of us thought might never arrive. But here we are, Liverpool are the newly coronated Premier League champions.

I have a slightly obvious theory that the Premier League was a psychological block for Liverpool FC.

Had the old First Division, as it was, continued beyond 1992, then I don’t think it would have taken Liverpool 30 years to turn title No. 18 into title No. 19.

The old First Division belonged to Liverpool and the newly formed Premier League didn’t. Natural order and old inferiority complexes of others would have soon kicked in.

In the same manner, the old First Division became a weight around the neck of Man United.

An unattainable entity, of which they blew the very last iteration of in 1991/92, when it was theirs for the taking.

Had the old First Division continued, then that psychological barrier would have been harder for Alex Ferguson’s team to break in 1992/93 than a brand-new league was.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: The Premier League trophy dressed in red ribbons during the presentation after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Premier League represented a blank canvas for a club on Merseyside that was eroding, just as much as it was for a set of habitual underachievers that were finally letting loose in Salford.

The more the Premier League title proved to be agonisingly out of reach, the more impossible the dream seemed to become. While it was a prize that was the same thing as before with a different name, it became an irritation.

If the Premier League was an itch, it was one that was situated right between the shoulder blades.

Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier held fleeting hopes of soothing that itch, while Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers came so very close to doing so.

While Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers would have done it had the wind been blowing in a marginally different direction, given that they didn’t, I think it had gotten to the point where nobody other than Jurgen Klopp could have generated the successes of the last 14 months, culminating in this, our first league title in three decades.

Yet here we have a potential springboard now that can not only bring other Klopp successes, but also for those that follow him into the job as Liverpool manager.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson lifts the Premier League trophy after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 5-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A scene has been set for the decade ahead and there is a horizon in view that can be anything Klopp and Liverpool want it to be.

There is no bigger game in football today than Liverpool FC.

They have created a blueprint for others to imitate; they have become the benchmark for what can be achieved if you are a football club that isn’t blessed with the biggest chequebook.

Klopp has been shrewd and meticulous in not only the composition of his squad, but in his creation of a community that he has compelled to fight for a cause.

Klopp has invented ingredients that no chequebook can buy and along with hard work, determination and sheer bloody-mindedness, he has delivered the league title.

Frank Lampard is a case in point.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Chelsea's manager Frank Lampard argues with Liverpool bench during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A frustrated Chelsea manager who grouses about arrogance, without the hint of irony of a man who was Jose Mourinho’s midfield dynamo—Mourinho being the only individual that can challenge Ferguson’s legendary levels of antagonism.

There was also that questionable holiday Lampard took with a couple of England team-mates that spoke of his expertise in arrogance, I suppose.

Petty strops aside, what hurts rivals almost as much as seeing us lift the Premier League trophy is that we have done it on our own terms, in our own way.

For every angst-ridden rival, there is an unashamed admirer of what Klopp has done at Anfield. For instance, AC Milan have approached Liverpool for pointers in how they can break the Juventus stranglehold on Serie A.

Klopp’s brand of inspiration is infectious.

Liverpool’s marketing department have run tirelessly with Klopp’s throwaway remark of turning doubters into believers, but I think there are other, more accurate descriptions that better explain what he has achieved at Anfield.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates as the Reds are crowned Champions after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trust is everything.

It took the supporters a lot to trust again, after they had bought so emphatically into Rodgers’ 2013/14 bandwagon. Many of us truly believed that that was going to be ‘the one’, only for failure to arguably prove more painful than it had in 2008/09.

After the League Cup final, Europa League final, Champions League final and 97-point Premier League losses, it took a certain sense of endurance to rise again and shake off each new disappointment.

‘Mentality Monsters’ is another tagline that has been attached to this Liverpool of ours. A line that is brutally apt for Klopp and his players’ psychological disposition, which also, handily, fits perfectly on a t-shirt and countless other types of merchandise.

There will undoubtedly be much more to come.

This Liverpool isn’t going to be like the Leeds United of 1992 or the Blackburn Rovers of 1995, or even the Leicester City of 2016, whereupon each occasion they climbed their respective mountains only to freewheel it back down the other side straight away.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson lifts the FA Premier League trophy after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have a core of players who are the very best their positions can boast, and an aroma of evolution is in the air.

When it comes to new arrivals or those who choose to go elsewhere, it is the brain more than the brawn that is the most important thing.

Liverpool are a team of thinkers and dancers. Those who fall somewhere between the two need not apply.

We might not have been able to go to the party that was thrown at Anfield on Wednesday night, but it looked the part from my spec, sat at my dad’s house, where my brother also joined us.

Caught by the emotion of it all, given my dad’s advancing years, it was a title win that we doubted we’d get to share.

Now we believe though.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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