Klopp alone

The annoying thing about stereotypes and cliché is that there’s occasionally a morsel of truth in them. On Sunday anyone in or around Anfield would have found it hard to argue that it wasn’t “grim up north.” It was a miserable day on the Mersey and not just because of the footy.

I’d opted to walk to the game despite the dark skies and drizzle, partly because the washing machine keeps shrinking my pants and also because the kids keep shrinking my bank balance. It’s a decent walk; roughly 8,000 steps according to the pedometer on my mobile phone.

By the time I reached the ground I was in a fairly decent mood. I’d been lifted by recent results. It seemed that Klopp’s philosophy was slowly sinking in. The result against the Russians was decent. The performance was even better.

In fact, I was so buoyant, I actually allowed myself to believe that Jurgen could brain-wash away any Europa League fatigue that usually blights any team who qualifies for the competition. Palace have proven a bogey team in recent seasons. The pain of the 3-3 that effectively ended our title challenge in 2013-14 will take a while to ease. Nevertheless I was still genuinely optimistic.

Palace look a decent side and Pardew deserves great credit for the way he has them organised, but that’s only part of the story. They look big and strong and they clearly came for more than a point. From the moment the game kicked off it was obvious this wasn’t going to be a stroll.

Coutinho and Cabaye both put efforts high and wide as the sides traded punches early on. Still, I felt reasonably comfortable. I even commented to the guy next to me that Klopp seemed to have sorted the defence out. When will I ever learn? Cue more uncertainty in the box. Liverpool could and should have dealt with the threat from Palace far more decisively. Instead, from where I sat, Bolasie seemed to have way too much time and space in the box.

0-1 and Red hearts sank. Still last weeks trouncing of Chelsea showed that Liverpool had rediscovered some resilience and all was probably not lost. Just as they had in the capital Liverpool did fight back, but there was clearly something missing. We just didn’t threaten enough and a number of chances, including a header from Benteke and a shot from the improving Moreno, went begging.

sakho injury

Then came the hammer blow. Sakho had picked up a knock. He seemed to be struggling badly, but opted to fight on through the pain. Loud applause erupted along with chants of Sakho, Sakho, Sakho as the player ran gingerly back into play. Someone behind me joked “he was going off there, until he saw Lovren pulling his shirt on then he though fuck that.”

The comment provoked nervous laughter. We all knew what losing the Frenchman meant. It’s generally acknowledged, amongst the people I sit with, that he is the reason for our defensive improvement. To lose him to injury would be a hammer blow even if we weren’t a goal down.

Sadly his bravery couldn’t make up for the obvious injury and he eventually made way for the former Southampton man. Two minutes later any feelings of trepidation when Coutinho gleefully accepted Lallana’s assist and buried his shot into the centre of the goal.

Sadly though the half was petering out. Even with the time added on for Sakho’s injury, The Reds couldn’t take advantage of a succession of corners. Anfield seems to be a place where corners go to die these days, unless they’re being taken by opposition players of course. There were mutterings and curses all around as we squandered one after the other. “I don’t know why we bother,” said someone to my right. Another chipped in “might as well just give them  goal-kick we won’t do anything with it.” Yes, it was grim up north on Sunday.

Still, we went in to half-time on level terms and with every reason to believe we could do to Palace what we had done to their neighbours a week earlier. We would be bitterly disappointed.

Liverpool weren’t bad in the second half. They created enough goal-scoring opportunities to take the three points, but we are just far to blunt in attack. At times you just can’t see a goal coming. From Palace’s point of view it would have felt like a fairly comfortable afternoon.

As the game ebbed towards the final ten minutes I started to think that a draw wouldn’t have been the worst result ever. Disappointing yes, but given the long journey in midweek, coupled with a short recovery period; it was at least understandable. Klopp may yet equal Paisley’s record of eight unbeaten games at the start of his tenure.

Palace though hadn’t come for a draw. Pardew had gambled on Liverpool tiring towards the end of the game and his side rallied in the final stages. They won a corner and anxiety levels began to rise once more.

scott dann

From where I sit it’s hard to see exactly what went on in the box, but it’s not that far way that you can’t see that this was another self inflicted wound. Klopp cut a miserable figure on the touchline, as all around him seats were emptying fast.

He will have come to Liverpool believing the Anfield faithful to be soul brothers of their Dortmund counterparts. Maybe once, but not today. Liverpool’s home support seems broken right now. Twenty five years without a title has sapped the energies of even the most ardent of supporters. Frustration and resignation is, at times, all pervading.

Klopp was right to identify this as an issue in his first interview. However, even he seems taken aback by the scale of the problem. Earlier in the game I had been lambasting the Palace supporters for their moronic and predictable chants. It’s like they work off a script and you could run a sweep on what minute they’ll start the “where’s your famous atmosphere?” chant.

Trouble is, when it comes to stereotypes and clichés, there’s often a grain of truth in them. Anfield is a shadow of its former self and we need to accept this as fact. It’s no longer acceptable to dine out on past glories. The grim truth is that we are now part of the problem.


I’ve heard it said that it’s up to the players to give us something to shout about. Well that’s partly true, but what’s our role? Are we spectators or supporters? Fans or customers? It’s a two way street in my mind. How great would it have been had people stayed until the end. Imagine the message it would have sent if, instead of trudging away, heads bowed, the whole ground could have sang our anthem as loudly in defeat as we do in victory.

Of course many on The Kop stayed and the manager duly made his way over the half-way line to applaud them, but even here we were a pale imitation of times gone by. Liverpool have a manager of genuine quality. He knows the score and, perhaps more importantly, he has the credibility and bottle to put us in our place.

If Klopp’s reign is to become a genuine rebirth, we have to listen to the messages he is sending. We must stop believing our own hype. This is a new beginning and we are where we are, no matter how unpalatable that is. It’s time for us to play our part, or we will forever be 8,000 steps from heaven.

This article by me was first published on http://www.thisisanfield.com


Once gain the right-wing media is in ferment. No it’s not rising use of food-banks, homelessness or the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Europe that has them beside themselves with rage. Apparently all of these things play ‘second fiddle’ to any opportunity to portray the leader of the opposition as a traitor.

It doesn’t matter whether their headlines and faux twitter outrage are based on reality. When it comes to the ‘fourth estate’ they don’t trouble themselves with the truth when a good smear will do. In this case it is out of context comments regarding the commemoration of the first world war that has them frothing at the mouth.

Taking words out of context to discredit and smear is a tried and tested strategy. It would be laughable if some people didn’t lap it up. Remember how far their lies about the now infamous Bin Laden ‘quotes’ went? Even after they were widely discredited, Cameron still chose to dredge them up again in his party conference speech.

Curiously it was another Tory, Winston Churchill, who coined the phrase “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” I’m not sure he meant that as advice for conducting political strategy, but maybe he did.

Before we go any further,  it may help to look at what Jeremy Corbyn actually said about commemorating the 1914-18 conflict. Here is the quote, which he actually made in 2013, in context:

“Kier Hardie was a great opponent of the First World War and apparently next year the government is proposing to spend shedloads of money commemorating the First World War. I’m not sure what there is to commemorate about the First World War other than the mass slaughter of millions of young men and women, mainly men, on the Western Front and all the other places.

“And it was a war of the declining empires and anyone who’s read or even dipped into Hobsbawm’s great work of the early part of the 20th century, written post World War, presaged the whole First World War as a war between monopolies fighting between markets.

“The reason I say this is next year the government are planning this celebration and I think that’s an opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity to discuss war and discuss peace and to put up an alternative point of view.”

1914-1918, Ypres, Belgium --- Belgium: Destruction In World War I. The Cloth Hall at Ypres again the center of interest. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

No historian, or for that matter any A-Level history student, would question the basic reality of Corbyn’s analysis. That millions were slaughtered in the interests of imperialist powers who largely escaped the carnage is beyond doubt.

Of course it doesn’t suit the ancestors of such powerful men to have these things discussed in public. Much better to keep quite about all the unpleasantness, wrap ourselves in the flag and talk of heroism and sacrifice. After all there are still imperialist wars to fight and talk of mass death on the battle-field isn’t much help to the recruiting sergeants.

Politically, their agenda is clear enough. It involves painting the Labour leader as mad bad and dangerous to know. Ironically the chattering classes have chosen his preference for peace over war as the stick with which to beat him. According to them, his wanting to use the anniversary of the ‘Great War’ to  talk about how we can prevent such horrors from being repeated is heresy.

I have written before about how the press seek to shape public opinion by making certain arguments off-limits. This is yet another example. Let me be clear, I believe it is perfectly reasonable to disagree with Corbyn’s position, but is it right to call him a traitor? Should the print media be allowed to deliberately distort and misrepresent? Is wanting peace insane?

The only antidote to all this is to relentlessly challenge what is being written and question the motives of those behind such attacks. The press have an important role in society, but they are part of it and must be held to account like politicians and the rest of us.

Of course it hasn’t taken long for certain M.P.’s to jump on the bandwagon. Some have suggested that the commemoration events are about honouring the dead and remembering their sacrifice. Fair enough. But tell me, what is the point of remembering unless we use the pain of remembrance to strengthen our resolve to never again sacrifice so many for so little?


It’s not enough to don the poppy every year, stand in silence or cry. Important though these rituals are they don’t truly honour the fallen. Only peace can do that.

Far from disrespecting the men and women who died in muddy trenches all over Europe, Corbyn’s position is the only one that truly does them justice. In championing peace he is a friend of the soldier, precisely because he would never again send them ill equipped into an unjust war.

Surely the history of World War I tells us that our threshold for war needs to be much higher than it is today. Sadly it’s a lesson lost on many right-wing commentators.

I have been privileged to meet  a number of veterans in my life. These people mostly served in the war on fascism between 1939-45. If there’s one characteristic I think they all share, it’s that none of them glory in war. Many of them find it hard to talk of their experiences and all of them are united in the sincere desire that no generation should ever go through what they did again.

They didn’t return home from battle demanding that statues be erected in their honour. After all this is the least a grateful society could do. Instead they came home demanding a land fit for heroes. The end of both world wars sparked mass social movements across Europe. These awakenings sought to hold those in power to account. If we are not going to fight for the kind of peaceful society they thought would be the result of their sacrifices, then what were all of those sacrifices for?

Wilfred Owen, Soldier, Poet

Wilfred Owen, Soldier, Poet

There is nothing honourable in young men and women being sent to their deaths in the name of empire. There is no glory in murder on an industrial scale. These are my beliefs. This is also what Corbyn was articulating in his speech. If you don’t think those sentiments are perfectly in tune with those same soldiers who perished in 1914-18, then please heed the words of one who witnessed first hand that bloody hell.


(It is sweet and right to die for your country)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen
Written between 8 October 1917  and March, 1918

In their name, never again.


Howard Kendall

May 22nd 1946 – October 17 2015

I have been a Liverpool fanatic for as long as I can remember. As a Red I consider myself blessed. Though it’s fair to say I’m dining on slim pickings these days, I am lucky enough to have watched some of the greatest players and managers in the history of the game. Today we said a final farewell to one of them, as we laid to rest Howard Kendall.

As an Everton player Howard Kendall achieved legendary status in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t really remember his playing career. I do know, from Blues I count as friends, that he was as important to them as any Reds legend is to me. That’s all I need to know.

My memories of Kendall stem from when he managed the club during the 80’s. During the preceding decade it had been easy following Liverpool through Derby matches. Everton didn’t cause me too much concern back then. I would usually go to school on the Monday following the game ready and eager to rub salt into Blue wounds.

All of that changed when Kendall took over at Everton. This was a period when all Scousers could justifiably gloat that the two best teams in England lived either side of Stanley Park. Kendall and Kenny gave the city of Liverpool something to shout about during some very tough times. The loss of one half of that double act is felt by us all.

Kendall’s Everton were the worthiest of opponents during the 80’s. It’s a compliment to him to say that he ruined more than a few Monday mornings for me. However that barely does him justice.

Kendall’s achievements in football go beyond getting one over on the old enemy. He took an under-performing team, living in the shadow of it’s neighbour, and transformed them into a force. In that sense he can be compared to our own Bill Shankly. Kendall won two League Titles, an FA Cup and the European Cup winners Cup in just 6 years; a truly magnificent achievement.

Howard Kendall is undoubtedly Everton’s greatest manager, at least in my lifetime. He may have been from Durham, but he is now part of the fabric of Merseyside’s sporting history. This isn’t sentimentality. It’s just how it is.

As a football fan I know what Evertonians are feeling today. Red or Blue, we are threads woven into the same cloth and we understand how important people like Kendall are to our heritage. In Liverpool today both sides of the divide have lost a piece of their history and the city is a sadder place for it.

Rest in peace Howard Kendall you were a very worthy adversary and a footballing great.



“What is to become of those destitute millions, who consume today, what they earned yesterday; who have created the greatness of England by their inventions and their toil; who become with every passing day more conscious of their might, and demand, with daily increasing urgency, their share of the advantages of society?”

Frederick Engels, 1845

I first read Engels ‘The Condition of the Working Class in Britain’, in the late 1980’s. I was eighteen or nineteen at the time and it had a profound effect on me

I was struck by two facts. One, the condition of the working class had improved a great deal since Engels published his classic. We had achieved the Welfare State, the National Health Service and universal education. The council house I grew up in was comfortable and warm. My parents earned enough to ensure that we never went hungry.

I didn’t, however, believe that a benevolent ruling class had voluntarily handed over to those destitute millions their share of the pie. Instead I was very aware that each of these social advances had been the result of the hard fought battles of working people. I and millions like me owed a great debt to those men and women from another century, who had organised themselves and wrenched those concessions from a tight-fisted state.

Secondly, I recognised that those concessions would only ever be on loan to us. As I watched the nightly news in the eighties I could see that same ruling class seizing every opportunity to snatch back as much of the pie as they could. I watched as then Tory leader, Margaret Thatcher, sent the full force of the state to literally smash the miners strike. These were simply men and women desperately trying to defend their livelihoods and communities. The response of the government was merciless.


One by one our industries were plundered and sold off to The City. For the many pay rates were driven down by mass unemployment. Those in jobs were having their right to defend them stripped away by legislation. It seemed everything that had been fought for was now being taken back.

My generation didn’t stand idly by while all this was going on. We fought back, demonstrated and campaigned. We managed to stop some of the attacks. The ‘Poll Tax’ for example eventually proved a step too far for Thatcher and would became her undoing.

Labour attempted to reverse some of the worst excesses of the Thatcher years, but they did little to challenge the vested interests that hold all the power in society. Now, just as before those same interests simply cannot wait to take it all back.

Thanks to our ‘democracy’ it’s simply too easy for them. Today grey suited men and women pass bills in parliament; plunging thousands into debt and the threat of poverty. Not to worry though there’s a food-bank in every town and city these days. Just as before people have took to the streets to register their disapproval.

However, things are different today. Today we have a much better chance to get our voices heard. We have a Labour movement that has once more found its voice.

This week we saw a magnificent demonstration by junior doctors fighting, not just the attacks on their working conditions, but also to defend the NHS. Many are so angry, they are openly considering strike action. Of course, if the Tories get their way, even that right will be removed.

Cuts to tax credits, threats to socialised medicine and attempts to neuter the unions should all be seen as different parts of the same ideological agenda. How much easier will it be to cut services and drive down living conditions if the last line of defence for working people, the Trade Unions, are fatally damaged?

There is a growing realisation that our current democratic system is bankrupt. We are being governed by a Party elected by only a quarter of those eligible. It is the flimsiest of mandates, insufficient for a union to call a strike, yet enough to justify an assault on the poorest in society.

Almost a third of the electorate failed to vote in May. In a terrible irony, those who have lost faith in voting are the very people who stand to lose most from the policies of the current government.

Those people have to be convinced to engage with politics, but voting every five years simply isn’t enough. There are people in need now and services to defend today. Waiting until 2020 to vote in a new government would mean condemning millions to five years of bitter struggle. What condition will the health service be in by 2020? We can not afford to wait.


Since the election of the new Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a new movement has sprung up. It’s called Momentum and at its heart is the desire to transfer power from the hands of millionaires to the millions. The power of democracy resides in workplaces, colleges and universities all over the country, not just in the House of Commons. When ordinary people come together and organise their elected representatives must take note. They serve at our pleasure. It’s not the other way around.

Momentum has the potential to unite neighbourhoods and towns in common purpose. People can join together to save a library from closure or exert pressure on policy makers and defend their communities from cuts. The first of Momentums campaigns centre’s on mass voter registration.

The right to vote is another hard earned concession from the powerful. It was won thanks to the sacrifices of brave men and women, some of whom gave everything to achieve universal suffrage. It is another advance the Tories are seeking to undermine.

Changes to the electoral system mean that almost two million people will be removed from the electoral register. Many won’t even realise. Add this figure to the eight million who don’t vote and that represents 20% of the electorate. Hardly universal suffrage.

This is a very real threat to democracy and it simply can not be allowed to happen. Wherever you live there will be an opportunity to work with Momentum to ensure as many people as possible are registered to vote. This will be a tremendous opportunity to engage with millions of people up and down the country. It should be used not only to drive up the vote, but to draw them into a new movement capable of ensuring that the victories we win today aren’t turned into defeats tomorrow.

Momentum is building and, to paraphrase Engels, it is becoming with every passing day more conscious of its might. Whether you’re faced with the loss of tax credits, fighting to save the NHS or resisting the attacks on workplace democracy, your part of the same struggle for a decent share of the advantages of society. Don’t fight alone, instead build momentum and take back our democracy.


Originally posted on Jeff Goulding:


Something is not quite right with the poetically named KIC 8462852, a star situated in the outer boondocks of the ‘Milky Way’. It seems that something is periodically blocking the light from this object from reaching telescopes on earth and it’s not a planet.

Many theories have been put forward, but one of them in particular has made the media sit up and take notice. Could the bizarre behaviour of this celestial body be the result of alien technology in orbit around it? Is this evidence of an advanced civilisation harnessing the power of its nearby star? It seems mainstream science is giving this some serious consideration.

2015 is already shaping up to be a a pivotal year in human history. It has been a year of new achievements in exploration and potentially monumental discoveries. After all, 2015 did begin with astronomers cataloguing their 1000th alien planet and it didn’t…

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Something is not quite right with the poetically named KIC 8462852, a star situated in the outer boondocks of the ‘Milky Way’. It seems that something is periodically blocking the light from this object from reaching telescopes on earth and it’s not a planet.

Many theories have been put forward, but one of them in particular has made the media sit up and take notice. Could the bizarre behaviour of this celestial body be the result of alien technology in orbit around it? Is this evidence of an advanced civilisation harnessing the power of its nearby star? It seems mainstream science is giving this some serious consideration.

2015 is already shaping up to be a a pivotal year in human history. It has been a year of new achievements in exploration and potentially monumental discoveries. After all, 2015 did begin with astronomers cataloguing their 1000th alien planet and it didn’t stop there.

So far we have seen a man-made craft land on a Duck shaped comet, found unexplained bright spots on a ‘Dwarf Planet’ called Ceres, spied cliffs on Mercury, oceans on Enceledus, polar winds on Titan, photographed Pluto’s inexplicable blue skies and found salt water on Mars, not to mention the fact that Jupiter’s red spot is shrinking.


Is there more to come? Will this also be the year that humankind’s deep yearning for intergalactic company is finally sated?

Will we finally answer one of our deepest questions? Is our existence the result of some cosmic accident? Or are the processes that led to intelligent life emerging on earth common throughout the universe? Who among us hasn’t looked at the heavens and wondered whether alien eyes gaze upon the same patch of space?

The ‘Drake equation’, which calculates the likely volume of advanced technological civilizations in our galactic neighbourhood, has led many to argue that it is statistically unlikely that ours is the only oasis of life in the vastness of the cosmos. However, if the Universe is teeming with life, then it’s been keeping its self incredibly quiet up to now. Could all that be about to change and would it really matter if it did?

It takes the light from KIC 8462852 so long to reach earth that, even if we were able to confirm it was another advanced species, they may well have become extinct by now. Their ‘technology’ may have decayed with them.

Surely it’s too far away for us to visit them or conduct a dialogue. Any communication would require deciphering and it could take generations to fathom its meaning. The vast majority of people inhabiting earth are surely consumed with everyday questions of making ends meet and, sadly for some, the art of survival. Should we really bother ourselves with a quest for ‘first contact’? Of course we should.

Curiosity is a fundamental human trait. It’s true that our search for resources in other lands or beyond the horizon has its roots in Dawkins selfish gene. However, our sense of wonder stretches way beyond this and encompasses questions about how nature works, how and why we got here and what, if anything, all of this means. Human beings are explorers who enjoy the journey every bit as much as the destination.

Exploration often uncovers riches we never set out to find in the first place. If  anyone asks you “what has space travel ever done for us?” Just remind them of their satellite t.v. subscription, or point to the mobile phone they use. You could even ask them if they have ever needed a MRI scan or if they use a ‘sat-nav’ in their car. Of course there are far more benefits than this, but you get my point.

If NASA was to find evidence of even microbial life on an extra-terrestrial world, it would have profound implications for science and philosophy. However, where they to discover an advanced alien civilisation; it would be hard to imagine any aspect of human life that wouldn’t be affected.


I don’t believe the world’s religions would crumble in the face of such a discovery. They have after all accommodated many scientific discoveries that call into question the basic tenets of their belief systems. When it comes to sciences greatest triumphs, the response of religion is to simply incorporate them into ‘God’s Plan’ or attempt to discredit, or worse persecute, the scientists who make them.

Maybe, though, the realisation that beings, far more advanced than ourselves, inhabit our own galaxy will spur us on as a species. Think about it. What sort of civilisation would be capable of constructing technology to harness the power of a star?

They would surely have managed to solve many of the problems we face today. To create such ‘mega-structures’ would require planetary cooperation on a scale never seen in human history. What social and economic systems have they developed? How have they achieved such a cohesive society? How have they survived long enough to discover the science that made all of that possible? Why haven’t they been destroyed by their technology or some environmental catastrophe?

Suddenly the idea that the way we live here on earth is the only way would be open to serious challenge. We would have definitive proof that progress on an unimagined scale is possible. Even if we couldn’t directly ask this civilisation for its secrets; it would almost certainly prompt us to begin looking for new solutions to our problems and ways of living together.

It is for these reasons that I dream that all attempts at a natural explanation for the strange behaviour of KIC 8462852 break down. I hope with all my heart that the alien hypothesis turns out to be true. Maybe, just maybe there’s another being on a distant world who feels the same way. What an incredible thought.


It’s been some week. It began with fear and trepidation and it ended with euphoria and triumphalism. The Merseyside Derby is now a faded memory. ‘The County Roader’s Cup Final’ has been trumped, not on the field of battle, but with the appointment of Jurgen Klopp.

Going into that game the mood in the red half of the city couldn’t have been in sharper contrast to that of today. The same can be said of the blue half, only in reverse.

Most of us expected Brendan to be relieved of his duties at some point; nevertheless the timing of his sacking took everybody by surprise. In fact it shocked Thierry Henry so much that he was moved to fondle Jamie Carragher’s thigh live on television, whilst treating us to a facial expression more suited to a Carry On film, than Sky Super Sunday.


For the Evertonians their monumental feat of failing to beat “the worst Liverpool team in history” again was swept away; with them left clinging to their “we got another Liverpool manager sacked” lifebelt.

Bless them.

Souness and Redknapp floundered around in their analysis of the decision. It was cringeworthy to see them faltering between offering fake words of support and then remembering that they had spent months sticking the knife in.

Souness in particular gave us a great view of both sides of his face. “I’m shocked by this”, he told us before informing the waiting world that he couldn’t understand why the Ulsterman had got the job in the first place.

As is often the case though it was left to Carra to cut through the flim-flam with razor sharp analysis. The Anfield legend, while critical of Rodgers, brilliantly saw the bigger picture and rounded on FSG’s record of getting all of their major decisions wrong.

He’s right.

We may never know what factors led them to keep faith with Rodgers over the summer and why they allowed him to set sail this season, holed below the water-line and with little chance of making it out the dock.

In truth the decision to keep him on was as cruel as it was ill-judged. His body language on the touchline was that of a condemned man simply marking time before the inevitable happens.


So with their third manager sacked in just 5 years and only one trophy to show for it, Messrs Henry and Werner found themselves on the brink of another monumental decision.

Carragher had compared Liverpool to Tottenham. “we think we’re a big club, but we’re not.” It was brutal, but it was hard to argue with him. At boardroom level we appear to lack any real ambition and in the transfer market our scatter-gun approach has been shambolic.

At times a section of our fan-base have embarrassed themselves and the club by hiring planes and holding up “Rodgers Out” signs at Anfield. In this sense we could be more accurately compared to Newcastle. The only thing missing was a “You don’t know what your doing'” chant. Given time I’m sure it would have happened.

In short being a Liverpool supporter had become a chore in the last two seasons.  Change had to happen. The only question is why have we found ourselves eight games into a season, having entrusted millions of pounds to a manager the club had obviously lost faith in?

Could it be that Brendan was only keeping the seat warm until his replacement was ready to end his holiday? Did the collapse of Chelsea convince FSG that they needed to approach Klopp quickly for fear Abramovich would get there first? One or both of these is probably true, but it does paint a picture of a club desperately lacking leadership and direction.

Doubts abound about who exactly is making the big decisions at Liverpool. The fear is that faceless bureaucrats with little or no footballing knowledge hold sway. Rumours of the owners taking advice from David Dein, Johann Cruyff and even Rick Parry tell their own story. Why haven’t they got people inside the club whose counsel they can trust?

The sacking of Rodgers may have been inevitable and necessary, but it’s handling opens a window on an absentee ownership who also need to step up to the plate.


Rumour has it that Brendan was sacked on the phone, with Ian Ayre left to negotiate his severance package. Apparently Jordan Henderson was left to break the news to the squad. Even when they act decisively, the owners somehow conspire to make themselves look remote and half-baked.

I wrote after the Villa game that Liverpool were rapidly becoming an ordinary club. It was a uncharacteristically pessimistic viewpoint. When it comes to football I am normally a hopeless romantic.

The last five years have worn me down and it was going to take something big for me to get my mojo back.

With Rodgers ousted, the ownership simply had to get the next appointment right. If you had polled the fan-base they would have chosen Klopp as favourite, with Ancelotti coming in second. These two are ‘A-List’ managers. Any club with ambition to get to the top of European football would have them in their top two.

It’s not an insult to Brendan to say that they both represent a massive upgrade. That’s why most of us, while desperately wanting to see a manager of this calibre in the dugout, never really believed it would happen.


So low are our expectations that we would not have been surprised if Gary Monk had emerged as the favourite for the hot-seat.

Of course it now turns out that FSG may just have the ambition necessary to take Liverpool to the next level. They have delivered in a big way with the appointment of Klopp. He is a huge name as evidenced by the amount of journalists and cameramen crammed into the Centenary Stand.

He will demand even greater ambition in terms of how the club is to be run and the type of players we target. he spoke glowingly of the current squad. Why wouldn’t he? After all he has to maximise their potential until January.

However, make no mistake he will be far more assertive with the committee that Rodgers was before him. Let’s hope that FSG realise what they’ve got and view his first and last words as sacrosanct. If they don’t we are in for a bumpy ride.

Klopp’s interview and subsequent press conference have been like a shot of adrenaline to a fading heart. It is crystal clear that this is a man who gets Liverpool Football Club.

Even Mark Lawrenson was gushing in his praise; although the usually laconic pundit was a little too fixated on the German’s sartorial qualities rather than his words. Roy Evans, a man who worked with greats, such as Shanks and Paisley claimed to have a lump in his throat after hearing Klopp being interviewed. David Fairclough and Gary Gillespie were “inspired” and all struggled and failed to avoid drawing comparisons with the great Scotsman from Glenbuck.

These are heady times once more. I’m reminded of the same sense of optimism that accompanied the arrival of Benitez, perhaps more so. It’s those same memories that stir up an air of caution for me. Rafa was revered for much of his reign. Amongst a significant number, and I am one, he still is.


However, when the going got tough enough of us turned on him and that gave a bankrupt ownership the courage to oust him. What a terrible decision that turned out to be. The club is still nowhere near the dizzy heights they had ascended under the Spaniard.

In Jurgen Klopp we have been given an unlikely and glorious opportunity to once again scale that summit. It is a chance we cannot pass up. The German has only been at the club a matter of days and he has already proved a headline writers dream. he has produced enough sound-bites to last a lifetime, and all of them sincere and brilliant. For me though it was a message delivered with a twinkle and a smile that resonated most.

At the end of his first interview for LFCTV, Clare Rourke asked the now clichéd question “so what message do you have for those Liverpool supporters?” He thought for a moment. This was his opportunity to speak directly to the fan-base. He could have trotted out the same old guff about what an honour it was for him blah blah blah. Instead he looked directly at the camera and summed up exactly what we and the club need from him right now. “You must change from doubter to believer – Now!”

In that one quote Klopp has summed up the malaise that has gripped and at times threatened to consume the club. It’s been 25 years since we’ve won the title. This is a mill-stone that has dragged every manager before him down. It’s also been too heavy for some of our players to bear.

“If someone thinks we have waited long enough for the title – then restart and then everything can happen,” said Jurgen. Liverpool and its fans must now reset the clock. Our history is second to none and we must enjoy it, but not wallow in it. It’s time to move forward and leave the past in the museum.

Patience must become a virtue. Setbacks are inevitable, but if we give him time and support him through the growing pains to come; we have a real chance to write another glorious chapter in the Liverpool story. FSG have stepped up with this appointment. It’s now time we upped our game too.

Could it be that our beloved club is once more about to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? Maybe, just maybe the last five years have been like that first half in Istanbul. Could we now be about to witness the most amazing comeback of all time. I get a sense that we might. I’m a believer again and it feels great.

This article by me was first published on http://www.thisisanfield.com