Liverpool did something kind of amazing today: they came from behind to win a football game. And not just any football game, either, but a game against Chelsea Football Club, their bogey club for all three seasons under former manager Brendan Rodgers. And not just a game against Chelsea, but one at Stamford Bridge, where Liverpool have not won since 2011 November 29 when Kenny Dalglish was in charge.
The idea of Liverpool coming from behind to beat any team, never mind the one Premier League team that they haven't taken three points from in nearly four years, would have seemed like a delirious fever dream earlier in the season. But times are changing, and despite key injuries to the squad, there's still a sense of optimism and excitement in this team, thanks in large part to Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool's ebullient new manager. Now Liverpool have two wins on the bounce in all competitions and are 11 games unbeaten. Klopp has yet to taste defeat in his new position, and long may that continue.
It was still surprising, then, when Liverpool pulled through with a win, but less surprising than it would have been last month. Jurgen Klopp, when giving his opinion on the match, seems to be maintaining a cautious optimism.
"We didn’t have the best start in the game. We needed a few minutes to come into it and Chelsea made their goal – one of those strange situations where there were four against two in the corner and they made the cross.
"They made their goal but we stood in the game. We had our moments, we played football and our build-up with short passes – what we want to do – was very good.
"They tried to make high pressure but we could play in the spaces between. So we could change the situation a little bit and I think in the first half we deserved it.
"Of course, it’s dangerous because of the quality of Chelsea with the counter. But we controlled these situations; not perfectly, we showed the guys a few situations at half-time where we had to protect our situations better. We made a goal and deserved the draw at half-time.
"In the second half it was an open game, we got a little bit more of the game and made our goals in two perfect moments for us. Shoot at the right moment, don’t shoot at the wrong moment, take the ball to a better situation and then shoot. A little bit of luck, of course, but I feel it was deserved.
"At the end, we had to work hard but that’s normal if you want to win at Chelsea. We had to work hard and that’s what we did."
The team's resilience and drive to rally and come back from that deficit was heartening to see. It's a quality absolutely necessary for a four top contender, which is, at this point, what Liverpool hopes to be.
"Their reaction was much better.
"In life like in football, you have to make mistakes and then you can talk about it, you can work on it and change it. Or you don’t know it’s a mistake or that you will react like this when it happens.
"I haven’t known the team long enough that I can imagine all of the reactions of my team in specific situations. We made this fault [against Southampton] and spoke about it.
"It’s not possible to train that part of football. But you can change things and that’s what they did today.
"That reaction is very important for us because in the Premier League it’s not possible that in each game you’ll go into a 3-0 lead and play easygoing. You have to fight, that’s what we did today. And you have to solve your problems in the game and that’s what we did today too."
He acknowledges that the team played well, but that they still have a ways to go to get to where they want to be. This victory was mighty satisfying, and will hopefully build confidence in the players, but the Southampton game was less than a week ago and they're not quite safe from the sort of internal collapse that saw them relinquish that win with only minutes to go.
"For all of us, I've never won against Chelsea. It's a difficult game in this situation and in general it's a difficult game.
"We deserved it. We tried to solve the problems. We can do better, that's for sure but for a first time it was ok."
Klopp added: "We are not at our limit of course. We tried this today because [although] Christian is fit now he is not 100%.
"But we knew we could bring him and he brings fresh legs, with this quality Christian is always good.
"He could play between the spaces and we knew about their style of play and we could have Firmino between them."
Christian Benteke, in between bouts of niggling injuries, has proven to be one of the best buys of the summer. He's an effective and creative goalscorer, and Liverpool never fail to look better when he's on the pitch. If he could stay healthy and string together a decent run of games, he might prove to be the catalyst that Liverpool needs for more dominant performances like the one seen today.
Of course the real hero of the afternoon was Philippe Coutinho, who celebrated his wife's pregnancy by scoring a gorgeous brace on the day.
The problem with Coutinho has always been that he puts in a few world class performances, the kind that get pundits talking about moves to Barcelona and Real Madrid, only to follow them up with weeks or even months of disappearing on the pitch.
Well today he came back with a vengeance, scoring the equalizer at the end of the first half and then the winner in the second. About everyone's favorite magical unicorn, the manager had this to say:
"It's always the same. Philippe is a great player, he has great skill and is a great guy.
"Sometimes it's not so easy, you have to fight and have to work and that's what he did to get back what he invested.
"He's a lucky guy at the moment and was very important for us today."
Klopp and his Reds have the chance to make it three straight wins in three competitions when the team travels to Russia on Thursday to play Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.