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The league of an extraordinary gentleman – Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp

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All the planning is done, the coaches devise the perfect attacking move. The men in red run circles around their opponents, the striker leaves the goalkeeper in his wake. The open net beckons, and yet, the striker fails to score.

This is Liverpool’s story. The story of a decorated football club which just hasn’t been able to score that one goal – the golden goal that wins trophies. It has been ages since the giants of yesteryear have felt like real champions.

But such is life and such is sport.

From scaling the heights of success to plunging into the depths of despair, Liverpool’s journey embodies the myriad twists every human being has to negotiate in life. And being off-colour for 24 long years can be extremely demanding and disappointing, especially when you know that you can achieve, and when every fan expects you to slot the football right between the opponent goalkeeper’s sprawling back and the swirling net.

The arc lights, which once shone so brightly on the Reds have been turned off. Statements and silence have tried to save each other, but have miserably failed to silence the growing clamour inside and outside Anfield.

But, now, there’s a glimmer of hope. It comes sporting heavy-rimmed glasses, a baseball cap and boundless optimism, and is called Jurgen Klopp.

There are no expectations of a Bill Shankly-like revival of dominance, but Liverpool fans, so long deprived of any real hope, are fervently investing in what they believe will be a new era of greatness.

Jurgen Klopp said he’s the ‘Normal One’. He lied. He cannot be normal. No true football lover can be normal. Not before this game. Football itself hasn’t been normal in all these hours of building up to Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs have scored three more and conceded three fewer goals than Liverpool. And they are a point ahead. But the North Londoners’ form, their home advantage and coach Mauricio Pochettino’s desperation to inflict an anticlimax on the Reds will only play second fiddle to the undisputed ‘Big Story’ of the day.

The media is full of Klopp. It is relentless. And this is the perfect platform from where the Liverpool of old may rise – the close-knit unit, the team hunting in packs, the creators of superstars.

For Klopp, it’s all about playing football “…like football looks like in your best dream” – like a defender dribbling his way through on goal and toe-poking the ball through the tiniest gap between goalkeeper and post.

It’s the romance of football, and Klopp is the Bard.

That’s what brought him to Liverpool. For a long part of his life, Klopp didn’t have enough money to go places. Later, he didn’t have the time.

The German with sober English is not so sober on the ground. The unrelenting British media disturbed him. He just wanted to be with his players and the belief that changed the fortunes of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

Going into the Spurs game, a long list of injury problems leaves Klopp with a limited roster to choose from. Whatever formation he decides to go with, Klopp will want to showcase a way of playing football without depending on stars. Perhaps Liverpool will play a brand of the fearless football fans have pined for so long and run riot in victory. Or maybe they’ll lose. But fans will be desperate to see a positive glimpse of the new spring.

This is not do-or-die for Liverpool. This is not the end; it’s only the beginning. Injuries and defeats happen are a part of the game. But good football is its soul. Jurgen Klopp for most of us is pure, good football. Let’s celebrate it. Let’s celebrate the union of two footballing giants and have a bit patience that extends beyond a game or two.

Because this is how heroes are born, and destinies shaped.

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