It is an interesting time to be a Liverpool supporter in light of their recent history making come-back against Barcelona last Tuesday. Long have I endured the collapse of the club, weak managers, and failed attempts to reach the pinnacle of the Premier League. There have been mistakes, slips, hiccups, and directionless seasons but I remained faithful while echoing, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to my beloved Reds. I still remember where I was the day Liverpool brought in Jurgen Klopp as manager. It was a typical day at work, I was surrounded by the various tasks of the day, and hanging with friends who don’t comprehend the nuances of English tribalism when it comes to domestic football (soccer). They looked at me with mild amusement as I extolled the virtues of a German manager now in charge of Liverpool. They tolerated my exuberance as I rattled on with giddy enthusiasm about how Klopp would change everything. And now, all that blind faith yields results.
Gone are the weak comparisons of Brendan Rodgers to Jurgen Klopp. Dismissed are the mid-table players who once made up the bulk of the roster. Diminished are the doubts of achieving a top-four finish. Jurgen Klopp has done what no other modern era manager could have accomplished — he’s set Liverpool back on a path to greatness. He’s reset the course, redefined the players, and educated the dedicated supporters. By willing his club into the Champions League finals for a second consecutive year, Klopp has established himself as an elite manager at an elite club. And we’re still in with a very minor chance to win the Premier League for the first time this Sunday.
When Barcelona arrived at Anfield on Tuesday, they felt confident. Up 3-0 from their home leg in the Champions League semi-finals, all seemed concluded. Surely Liverpool would roll over and die but not so fast. After a quick start, Liverpool were up 1-0 at the half, then an inspired substitution brought in my favorite player, Gini Wijnaldum, who scored a brace bringing the aggregate level at 3-3. Late in the second half, Trent Alexander-Arnold, a right-back of cheek and courage, took an opportunity and caught the Barcelona defense napping. A quick corner got the ball to Divock Origi who buried it, finishing the game 4-3. In an unlikely but inspiring moment in football history, Liverpool will go to their second Champions League final with a chip on their shoulder from last year’s failure — but I expect a different result this time around.
Liverpool are focused, experienced, practiced and ready for a redemptive chance to lift the cup. Should they win the final on June 1st, it will be the sixth Champions League trophy in club history and path will be forged for a new and exciting chapter in Liverpool red. Meanwhile, check out the intense celebrations and an incredible rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone from the crowd.
When the dust cleared from the season, Manchester City won the Premier League, defending their title, and confirming their status as a top shelf talent. Liverpool finished the season with 97 points, 1 behind City, and locked into second place. All in all, a stunning season and I’m proud to be a Liverpool supporter.