Frustration should be checked
It seems so very typical of Liverpool to have had three clear chances to put their top four ambitions to bed, only to have blown it and to need a win on the final day. Liverpool versus an already safe Brighton and Hove Albion shouldn’t be a match that brings about crippling tension, but it is. We must win and get the job done if we are to claim a top four spot ahead of Chelsea.
It would be understandable for a lot of Reds to be annoyed at this state of affairs. We were two up at West Brom, drew at home to Stoke and lost to Chelsea. Two points from five, should really be six minimum at this level. Yes there are mitigating circumstances, quite big ones to be honest, but with the quality in our ranks, this final game should really be a send off for the lads ahead of Kiev and the Champions League Final.
And yet, context is always needed before moaning sets in. This is Klopp’s third season at Liverpool, just his second full one at the helm. And here we are again in the middle of May for the third year in a row, with something other than beige indifference and a squad full of unlikable, disinterested players. Not too long ago, things weren’t so rosy in spring for us lot.
The ball fed through to Sergio Aguero, eight yards out, as players tumbled over each other in the area, in stoppage time, the Argentine released it from under his feet and opened his body up to shoot, in move that seemed to take forever to materialize. 13th May 2012 will be a date that any real Man City fan will remember forever. A pub in Liverpool City Centre erupted in roars of relief and delight as that goal went in. City had stopped United from winning it; that was about as good as it got for us in those days.
The dingy bar in town was also showing Kenny Dalglish’s final game in his second reign as Liverpool manager, most of us had forgotten it was on to be honest. Swansea City under Brendan Rodgers eased to a one nil win and Liverpool slumped away from another miserable season as we finished eight and looked a million miles away from the newly crowned champions up the M62.
It was just one of a growing number of meaningless and depressing final games of the season for Reds fans, most of whom just wanted it to end and reinforcements to come in. It became cyclic, broken only by the superhuman brilliance of Luis Suarez in 2013-14 as he dragged us to within a painful whisker of the Premier League Title. That season was a shining beacon, in years of gloomy underachievement, culminating in meaningless games in May.
There were some poignant moments in those days, Carragher and Gerrard both bowed out after wonderful service, but neither got the send off they deserved. Indeed Gerrard, had to endure one of our worst ever results for his final game. The apple had fallen very far the tree. Players were leaving and mediocrity was setting in as seventh looked more likely than second with each coming season.
Klopp has now given us three consecutive seasons to be thankful since his appointment in October 2015. Slowly, he has been turning the screw, assessing and readdressing the issues in his team. A lot of us wanted a wrecking ball to swing, instant changes, instant results, but Klopp has shown a restraint off the pitch, that we very rarely see on the touchline. The ship has slowly been turned around from its meandering course south and each May since, has got a little brighter.
His players let him down in the cursed city of Basel on 2016. Liverpool never do well there, but the hope was we had the momentum to win the Europa League. Alas Moreno couldn’t be bothered to concentrate and the players faded. But still, he had taken a quite mediocre bunch to a final, beating United, Dortmund and Villarreal along the way.
Last season saw us fend of Middlesbrough’s first half AC Milan impression, to seal a three nil win and beat Arsenal to fourth. For only the second time in eight seasons, we had finished in the Premier League top four, and went into a summer with more than just one or two good players in our ranks. The German was building and we were noticing.
Whatever happens against Brighton, Klopp has exceeded what any fair minded fan had hoped for at the start of the season. We could still finish the campaign in third on seventy five points, and that’s with half our midfield out and nothing left on the bench.
Professionalism and calm must be applied against Brighton. Chances have to be taken, and the recent panic shown by the front six, must ebb away somehow. A draw might do it, but we would all love a comfortable win to see us home. If we do that and somehow lift number six in Kiev, well then Jurgen will just be showing off!
Klopp has taken us along way; we should still be pinching ourselves that we have this man at the helm. Yes it is eternally frustrating that we don’t make life easier for ourselves, but give us this, other Danny Graham and a six –one thumping at the Britannia, any day of the week.