Football can be life-changing, and not necessarily in a positive manner.
The 2013/14 changed a great deal of Liverpool fans. For the first time in quite a long time, fans thought the title was within their grasp.
They all needed to do to bring the league title back to Anfield was fit the results posted by Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Subsequently, it occurred. In the cruelest manner, also.
Steven Gerrard slipped and could not scramble back in time to prevent Demba Ba as Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners at Anfield, stopping all of the momentum. Subsequently, Crystanbul meant the Reds went to the last game of the season needing City to lose against West Ham United to give them some hope.
The tune, filled with hope and fuelled by dreams, was quickly tainted. It has been the stuff of nightmares ever since. Rival fans have used it for half a decade to taunt Liverpool, but it had not been discovered on the Kop for nearly six decades. Until yesterday. The significance of this can not be overstated.
This was not fluff or bluster. It was not to antagonise their old-time rivals, either. It was not relief that the match was won but the belief this was not going to be like all those other times.
The lead at the peak of the table has been increasing lately however the chant stayed locked away. There was a fear attached to it. A fear that trust can turn to pain. That dreams can slide into nightmares. It’s a mindset Jürgen Klopp said on his first day as the Liverpool manager.
However, the points total was and is, irrelevant to this instant. This was not about the 3 points. It had been about beating Manchester United. It was all about showing this group is, in actuality, a winning machine and that jinxes and superstitions play no role in their match.
Yes, Liverpool would be the most successful English club ever. And this affects the mentality of lovers.
Klopp wanted to flip doubters into believers. He wanted to turn Anfield to a fortress. The charismatic German understood to do that he had to change the mindset. Delivering success helps to rid the mind of these traumatic memories.
Liverpool are Champions of Europe, they are the winners of the Club World Cup and they claimed the European Super Cup earlier in the season, also. These feats do not erase what happened in 2013/14 however they do reveal this team is not haunted by the ghosts of the past. This squad knows how to win and they understand how to control pressure.
Heading into December, the next two months will be make-or-break with this Liverpool side. Klopp’s men needed to browse the derby, a must-not-lose game in the Champions League, the Club World Cup and a variety of tricky games in a brief space of time. Eliminating the Carabao Cup game in the equation, they won all 12 matches and retained ten clean sheets.
This Red’s side have broken down psychological barriers and rebuilt emotional bridges within the last few years but uncertainty still lingered. Not now. With these five words, ‘We are going to win the league’, this crop of players have the complete backing of the Liverpool fans. Not just emotionally or physically, but emotionally. Fortress Anfield just got strengthened.