Article by David Rice – @davidjrice83
Life is never free of worry, but you’d be hard pressed to find many Reds concerned about the state of Jurgen Klopp’s side right now.
And rightfully so, this squad is of a caliber, a quality like none I have ever seen. I’m not old enough to remember the teams of the late 80s, even if I had known what they were back then. We’ve had some good sides over the last two decades, teams that pushed us to the brink of greatness, though often failed to achieve it.
None of them, regardless of era, management or collective strength could play in this team’s shadows. That is how good this Liverpool side is. And so, I worry. Not about whether they’re going to win the league title or any other trophy this season. I worry about our ability, after so many years of mediocrity and coming to expect disaster, to fully appreciate this side the way they deserve.
It’s unlikely this can be maintained forever. Can it? Is this it? Win until we die? Not likely. Unless we all get together and die en masse next June. Seems a hard sell though.
Trying to fully appreciate this group isn’t unlike catching lightning in a bottle. You blink, you miss a brilliant pass. You get a pint at the wrong moment; you forego an exhilarating tackle.
I’ve got a bathroom routine nailed down to a one-minute margin of error for pregame and halftime. It’s tighter than a VAR decision but ensures I don’t miss starts and finishes for reasons that are within my control. Eat too many chicken wings the night before and I’ll miss a goal. No. I can’t risk it. I don’t dare.
The longer this goes on the more likely we are to lose the context which makes these Reds so special. Success brings new love, and with new love comes shorter memories.
My memory won’t let me forget a Roy Hodgson starting XI, won’t let me forget Stoke 6-1. It won’t let go of Andrei Voronin’s ponytail any easier than it will Stevie’s slip.
What about yours? Can you keep it all in context? How long before you accept this as normal? How long before you forget that these lads are beyond extraordinary? That this… this is not normal.
How will we cope if this doesn’t last forever? I don’t mean long term, I mean tomorrow. What if they’re just great? Not invincible.
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What if the second half of this campaign goes off the rails a bit? What do we do when they struggle? Last season saw more heads fall off than a Game of Thrones battle scene at the mere sight of a draw. Can you imagine what happens if we lose a league match after an entire calendar year unbeaten?
We’ve won so much since our last loss, no one will blame if you’ve forgotten. Everyone has been wearing fresh underwear and drinking the coldest beer for some time now. The feel-good factor replaced sweat inducing panics long ago and if that Sheffield United result was any indication of our cruising altitude at this stage of the journey, then we’re well and truly above any violent turbulence for at least the near term.
And yet, you worry.
You worry that old nightmares will be relived. That just as anything is possible in our favour it is also in favour of damnation. You worry that Leicester City and Manchester City can and will win every match they play between now and May. That this side, which has shown you what elite character really means, will stage the most horrific collapse in the history of competitive endeavour.
I don’t worry.
Arrogance? Perhaps. But to worry about them in this way gives more credibility to the others than to these lads. It fails to acknowledge what we have become, the identity that Klopp, his staff and these players has built over the last four years.
I guess I do worry. Not about them and what they do. They’re right as rain. They’re down a road and they aren’t looking back. I worry about you. They’re not waiting for anyone and if you’re not on board by now, for the love of all that is good, when are you going to be? It’s a road I will follow them down blindly, with full faith that this time there isn’t heartbreak waiting at the end.
I’m singing all the fucking songs, even that one. The one that causes fits, raises hairs and heart rates, incites the casting of aspersions. I’m singing it until you do believe us, but more accurately, until you believe them.
There is no turning back now. The high bar is chasing records, becoming unassailable. The minimum bar to clear is 39 points. Take 39 from the last 54 and we cannot be caught, cannot be lectured about counting chickens or have that 30-year void held over our heads again.
I worry. Not about them. About you. About how you’re enjoying it. About the ways you take it in, whether the light is right for you to bask in their glow.
But I’m not sure I can worry much longer. The year has turned and it’s all full steam ahead we’re setting the stage for a party. It’s peddle to the floor, win everything we can between now and the end of May.
I still worry for a lot of things. My liver and my sanity chief among them. But these Reds? No, I no longer have to worry about them and neither do you. I worry about you and how long it’s going to take you to say it with me. We’re gonna win the league!
Article by David Rice – @davidjrice83