Steve from Kirkby leapt from his bed to the sound of his 7am alarm, threw open his liverbird curtains with a smile Jurgen Klopp would be proud of and slipped into his Liverpool onesie, before proceeding to rush downstairs and get ready for a day of annoying those unfortunate colleagues at work that had been brought up to support Everton football club.
Now for work, and the chance for Steve from Kirkby to remind everyone that Merseyside remains to be red. Steve from Kirkby does not exist, but he sure enough represents each and every Liverpool fan on Thursday morning of last week and their desire to shout from the rooftops following their memorable Merseyside derby win the night before.
A fairytale is what it was. Not the one read in books, but the one Liverpool fans dream of. Everton were out-classed, out-played and out-fought by their city rivals. Liverpool out-fighting opponents is becoming a common theme and it stems from the passion Jurgen Klopp persists to show- whether it be in a Europa League tie with Borussia Dortmund or a Premier League fixture at Bournemouth.
The cries of ‘Ole’ to each successful Liverpool pass worked with the opportunity for fans to laugh over a Lucas Leiva shot on goal in embarrassing Roberto Martinez’s side. Such a dominant performance against a helpless Everton posed as further evidence to suggest Klopp has transformed his men into winners.
The notion of crazy Klopp has brought to the scene cannot be overlooked. It has been infectious. From the manager running up and down the touchline to the fans setting off red flares and producing the best renditions of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in months, a little bit of crazy is proving significant in turning Anfield into a fortress again. There was just a sense against Borussia Dortmund and Everton that Liverpool were never going to leave as second best.
Though the disappointing draw against Newcastle dampened the mood a little at the weekend, it certainly failed in diminishing the elation that continues to swarm the Anfield crowd again.
The atmosphere could very quickly turn on its head depending on how Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg turns out, but there is a growing optimism that this Jurgen Klopp side is only moving closer towards rediscovering the glory days.
This winning mentality has surged not only throughout the starters but the entire squad, bringing the best out of an in-form spine made up of Mamadou Sakho, Emre Can and Divock Origi. The absence of these three seems typical considering how good an opportunity Liverpool have of securing Champions League qualification with Europa League success.
Many will wonder why it wasn’t Simon Mignolet that faced a ban for using a diet pill. His future is a discussion best left until the end of the season.
The hard work is paying off though. Players are coming into their own and performing with an unyielding confidence in their own ability. The likes of Sheyi Ojo, Kevin Stewart and Brad Smith and making an immediate impact when brought into the first time rather than settling for the ‘solid display’ tag that commentators and reporters so often give youngsters following a first team appearance.
Less prominent members of the squad are stepping up in the place of vital absentees and are stamping their mark on the game due to the support Klopp is showing them. This sense of unity has seen Joe Allen reinvigorate his Anfield career when it seemed nothing more than a lost cause. Maybe it is the hair. Maybe the hair really does make him feel like Andrea Pirlo. He brings an energy that keeps the ball moving and has become more aggressive in his forward thinking and he is a far better player for it.
Go back to six months ago and Adam Lallana does not take on the shot he scored with against Newcastle. It just goes to show how much confidence he has gained since the turn of the year. It must have taken him over 1000 cruyff turns to prove he is capable of making an impact. Finally he is producing the assists and goals to back up an ability with the ball that could see him dominate teams in a Brazilian Futsal match.
In terms of personnel, the return of Daniel Sturridge to regular first team action (fingers, toes and legs crossed) is perhaps the most important thing to come out of the past few months. Divock Origi definitely deserves all the praise he is receiving but nobody in this current Liverpool squad deserves a song more than Daniel Sturridge does.
It is difficult to believe he has been out for so long. Liverpool are a different team to be reckoned with when he is fit and playing. He has hardly put a foot wrong on the pitch since joining from Chelsea and it is up to Klopp now to build a solid foundation behind Sturridge to ensure his goals do not go to waste.
Thursday has now become the biggest night of Liverpool’s season so far. Taking a good result away to Villarreal back to Anfield is vital. This is a chance for Liverpool to take a step towards the big time once again. With key players missing, the tie promises to be a true test of Klopp’s ability to inspire his entire squad to victory and to see just how good this team can be.