On the second of June 2019 Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the final of the Champions League. It wasn’t a classic match, but that didn’t matter; having come so close the year before, the Reds were finally European champions. The following day Jürgen Klopp, his players and staff jumped onto an open top bus and paraded around the club’s home to raucous crowds. The feel-good mood around the place was sky-high, with everyone that had an association with the club taking the idea of being ‘unbearable’ straight to their hearts and finding as many ways as possible to brag about being the champions of Europe. It felt as though we were all standing ten foot tall and would bounce into the 2019-2020 campaign filled with the belief that we were the only team likely to give Manchester City a run for their oil money. After all, we’d married a European Cup win with ninety-seven points in the Premier League, which would have been enough to claim a double in any season other than the previous two.
What a day this waspic.twitter.com/PMX5599OKg
— Stanley House 🇵🇪6️⃣ (@StanleyHouseLFC) July 31, 2019
It’s barely been two months since Jordan Henderson hoisted the Champions League trophy above his head, but the mood around the Liverpool FC fanbase right now feels entirely different. Yes, it’s only a select few people that are being universally negative and you’ll always get a few cranks and weirdos, but even those like myself who were full of the joys of spring in the wake of the win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side are now feeling a little bit more cautious of what lies ahead. Don’t get me wrong, there are still vast swathes of supporters who are resolutely determined not to allow any sense of negativity to invade their space, likely reading a piece like this and chomping at the bit to tell me why I’m wrong and the Reds are in glorious form heading into the new campaign. Yet whether you’re one of the ones arguing that we’re fine or one of the doom merchants convinced that we’re in trouble, the reality is that the positive mood isn’t quite as solid as it was two months ago. The question is, why?
No Transfers & Mixed Messages
Mention transfers on Twitter and someone in the LFC fanbase will tell you that you should just ‘trust Klopp’ I understand why, given the propensity of morons to insist that we’re doomed if we don’t go and sign a brand new team of players before the new season gets underway. Yet I also think some people have gone too far the other way, with people I respect very much declaring that they hope we don’t sign anyone ‘just to piss Twitter off’. I have absolute faith in the manager and his team, who did a superb job in their achievements last time out. Even so, we’re trying to overtake one of the best teams ever to play the game who have amassed one hundred and ninety-eight points over the past two campaigns and we’re unlikely to do that by standing still. Obviously I very much hope that I’m wrong and I’m quite sure some of you will be disgusted by my take on things, but failing to bring in any new signings despite being champions of Europe has led to a feeling of deflation.
This transfer window has managed to destroy the united good feeling all Reds felt on June 1st. Sad really. It’s a war zone out there. Super reds vs people who just want to shore up the bench.
— LFC Watch (@Mobyhaque1) July 28, 2019
Whilst some supporters will always be idiots, the vast majority of us just want the club to do as well as it possibly can. We’ve seen Liverpool finish second and then fall away the following season far too many times, though I understand all of the arguments for why that happened and why it will be different this time out. Yet one thing that has added a sense of confusion to the summer is the fact that the club’s hierarchy has been sending mixed messages. In the wake of winning the Champions League, for example, John Henry was interviewed and said that lifting the trophy wouldn’t make up for missing out on the title, so the club would go again on the transfer front this summer. In the weeks following that, however, all of the noises that emerged from journalists on the local patch said that we weren’t planning on making any big moves, with the manager himself saying that we had ‘bills to pay’. Little wonder that those who think we need to strengthen to overtake the Cityzens are feeling a little let down.
Pre-Season Results Have Been Poor
Anyone who reads any of my stuff will know that I don’t care one iota about pre-season results, firmly believing that friendlies shouldn’t even be televised. To me they are nothing more than glorified training sessions and the manager will be looking for answers to a whole host of questions that we don’t even know about. Add to that the fact that we’ve been missing pretty much all of our most important players for the majority of it and you can see why the scorelines from the matches that we’ve been playing are a complete and utter irrelevance as far as I’m concerned. I haven’t even watched any of the games, such is the extent to which I don’t think the results matter as far as the upcoming season is concerned. Don’t forget that Brendan Rodgers won all of his pre-season games as manager in 2015-2016 before promptly being sacked in the October, whilst we beat Napoli 5-0 last summer only to be beaten by them in the Champions League group stage.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 31, 2019
That being said, we also have to confront the truth that Liverpool have had a poor pre-season to date. Wins over Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City came when the good vibe around the place was just about hanging on, but since then we’ve lost to Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli and only managed a draw with Sporting Lisbon, whilst I’m not sure last night’s win makes much difference. For me the pre-season results are meaningless, but for many they are sign of how things might pan out in the campaign that they’re designed to be a preparation for. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the results have got a few people slightly concerned about what’s to come. You might think that it’s ridiculous to be concerned by such things, as I do, but that doesn’t change the fact that fans are bothered by it and it is has removed their feel-good factor as the summer has worn on.
Such feelings are short-lived, though, and it doesn’t take much to change them. Beat Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday and it will soon be forgotten. Lose, however, and who knows what will happen.