It seems uncontested that the Anfield curse has been spelt. First, it was Burnley, then Brighton and then, a subsequent chain of matches that spiralled to an unprecedented five consecutive home losses, Liverpool’s boss – Jurgen Klopp was feisty to questions that posed doubts on his tactical flexibility.
The arguments have been his exhaustible coaching methodology, something that potentially drains the potency of his personnel over some years range. Actually very logical, the system has seen his players visibly knackered and a lack of poignant source of creativity that is quite uncharacteristic of his side. On a spiritless performance against Chelsea, they were limited to only a shot, a feeble Wijnaldum header until 80th minute; it would be the first time L’pool would look blunt for almost two decades. Meanwhile, it could be a silly shallow mindedness to be highly critical of Klopp’s machine. A reminder that the same heavy metal system saw L’pool finish runner up behind Madrid, a year later, they won in glorifying fashion and within the space of three years, Klopp landed a historic continental treble and a strongly coveted EPL that has eluded them for 30 yrs. Within all these esteemed feats, he implemented a heavy-metal, high-octane football, largely reliant on aggression, pace and umpteenth intensity.
It is wont for the media to constantly press for content. Mostly, these situations are ideally the best; to perform a verbal surgical operation on L’pool woes, identify possible deficiencies, to relentlessly press for loopholes, and scourge for information regarding a potential exit. It has all happened. There are talks of Gerard being a replacement, as there are also speculations about some players’ bespoke mutiny. However, in all, we could not be as sure as they are speculations at best.
The absence of fans is one not statistically quantifiable. Unlike those mathematical connotations that have been embedded into the football parlance, it is a phenomenon increasingly difficult to measure. How do Fans influence Games? Could be an indeterminable question specifically limited to many contexts. Perhaps, it is what makes sports arbitrarily immune to what statistics possibly offers; a total disregard of the ‘human’ (in pure connotation) factor. In 2021, Liverpool have implemented a style that landed a haul of trophy-laden fortunes. In 2021, Liverpool have shown a collectively resounding spirit of mental stubbornness and quite frankly, this season perhaps has also been one stoked with ill fortune towards them.
Conversely, they have lost all home matches this year, part of which they have neither scored from open play. Apply statistics and it tells us about a jaded system, an obstinate coach, physically exhausted players, and ostensibly, an avalanche of unavailable personnel. In strict analytical terms, they all make absolute sense. However, L’pool still comprises the electrifying front three that delightfully pressed for goals for almost three seasons, an Allison Becker, and the midfield sensation, Thiago Alcantara. They all in fair regards possess intrinsic qualities capable of circumventing L’pool season from this uncouth humiliation (even the worst L’pool sides never lost five home matches in a row). We are certainly sure this isn’t the worst L’pool side to be fielded but ironically, they have strung upon themselves probably, the worst record in L’pool’s history.
What could be the missing piece perhaps might be the boisterous Kop, the fans. It is surreal that the adaptation to this season’s normality has provided dual options of reality of the game: the one with fans that seemed normal. The other, without fans, that at first appeared abnormal, but felt normal in the end. At this point, L’pool needs the opportunity to experience the other option. One that imbues their confidence and self-worth to at least pick up a draw rather than lose ignominiously, one that trudges their opponents to wet their pants at the unbearable echoes of unadulterated intimidation. As earlier stated, there are no statistics to cover this aspect of football efficiently, and it makes it misplaced when it is done relatively to other clubs. Unsurprisingly, stats are essentially wired to be evaluated in binaries most especially with Pep’s City massively punching over weights having witnessed similar reality.
But, it is quite different. It is possible for City to have been thriving on an upward momentum especially with records to assail. Also, with an artillery of fortunes, the size of their problems seem not proportional, particularly in this context. L’pool already built a system dependable on the bellicosity of inspiration. Last season, it was to end a 30-year wait for the Premier League title, and it succeeded (with and without fans). With no tangible success trajectory, L’pool unluckily became devoid of fans who could transmit an overwhelming psychological support. Not without a hail of injury turmoil additionally, but the sole factor — though quite statistically unquantifiable — might be the Anfield faithfuls.