When defeat eventually arrives with "the sound of inevitability" to quote the chirpy Smith formerly known as Agent Smith, it will only serve as an opportunity for Klopp to learn more about his players and the demands of managing in England. Just as West Ham and Leicester have pushed on from a promising first month into a second and third with losses that haven't altered a buoyant atmosphere, Liverpool fans will be hoping for a similar continuation of results and performances for the rest of the year. Losing is part of the process, and while we'll hope for this run to continue for a while longer, we should not rage against the fates when it ends.
ETW's last outing in November ended on this note. Since then, there have been numerous times when this column felt compelled to share whatever musings floated around with disdain and despair. Whenever the time came to arrange these thoughts into coherence, the cupboard of will and endeavour remained bare. As someone who remembers Liverpool's missteps and failures throughout the years with peculiar zeal, the disappointment of Liverpool fans is understandable in many aspects.
Over the past two decades, Liverpool have displayed a wholesome disregard for seizing opportunities to build on genuine progress made in the Premier League. Second-placed finishes and title challenges weren't followed up by a series of near-misses or triumphs in subsequent seasons. Unravelling after unravelling appears next on a menu of frustration, consternation, perturbation, stagnation, and perceived humiliation.
Threatening to succeed only to fall away with different players and management gives the impression of a club that appears to be in the most unenviable business of artfully constructing and utterly dashing seemingly sensible hopes. There was the treble under Gérard Houllier, glorious and legendary finals under Rafael Benítez, and the club's most thrilling title challenge in a generation under Brendan Rodgers. Only Rafa could continue the sense that Liverpool were rising under his watch before things fell apart under Hicks and Gillett.
Roy Hodgson's hands weren't as safe as they were advertised; the return of the King was promising for half a season but wasn't enough the following one. With the exception of Hodgson, we held hope in our hearts with the work of each new manager. This goes back as far as the genial Roy Evans in the mid-1990s. Although Rafa comes close, Jürgen Klopp is Liverpool's biggest managerial appointment since Liverpool last won the league title on April 28 1990. What exactly does that mean?
In short, it means chill the fuck out. Seriously. Forget all the flowery language with suffixes ending in -ation, pretentious references to past articles, miniature history lessons, and unbridled misery. Chill. The. Fuck. Out. Throw in some Netflix if you must. Here's a resolution for 2016: do not be swayed excessively by victory or defeat. One week Liverpool are challenging for the league, possessing the capability to rescue a season that seemed desperately lost not too long ago. A week or two later it's time for searching souls and reflecting on the torpor surrounding the club with the most grave of expressions.
Enjoy Liverpool's victories, of course, whenever they arrive and rejoice at the prospect of any momentum that can be built up. Rail against the fates when reversals arrive and curse instances of rotten luck during games. Be as disappointed. Watch with envy as Tottenham Hotspur or Leicester City nestle comfortably in the top four. Kick those proverbial pebbles on your way home as Manchester United remain ahead of Liverpool despite looking unconvincing once again. After all this, prepare to wait with good grace.
The Premier League is joyously and wildly unpredictable this season where the unexpected is to be expected. The same should apply to Liverpool. While this season looks like an opportunity to get into the top four that won't return for many years, wasn't last season an opportunity for Manchester United to return to the top four? What about the supposed anomaly that was 2013/14? Say hello Chelsea. Everything doesn't hinge on right now and this season for Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp, and the way the charismatic 48-year-old has successfully worked at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund attests to this. However, if everything hinges on each result in the most perplexing season of the Premier League era, each setback becomes excruciating.
There is a sound rationale behind this. Jürgen Klopp is an excellent manager. If Liverpool can finish in the top four this season or win the Europa League, Klopp will be able to retain his key pieces and add the quality needed. After virtually an entire season to familiarise himself with English football and a full pre-season to prepare the players, Klopp will surely improve Liverpool even more. Such an event will result in successive seasons in the Champions League.
By achieving a regular presence in the land of milk and honey, a side with a bigger budget will be experience upheaval and be forced to rebuild. Rebuilding can be done in a variety of ways, but Liverpool will possess the stability and leadership that other teams lack. An expanded stadium, a top manager, a competitive squad, and sweet Champions League money and football would be in place. The prospect of ensuring that Chelsea and Manchester United both start next season without Champions League football is the rarest of opportunities, one that simply must be taken.
The problem with thinking that this season is the one to rule them all is to undermine the importance of Liverpool's current manager. Do you trust his quality? Do you trust his appraisal of players even if you don't rate the players themselves? This season will give Klopp all the information he needs to make a decision on which players can be trusted to implement his ideas on how football should be played. It's Jürgen Klopp, we'll be okay. If we're not okay this season, we'll be fine the following one. If it doesn't work out in the next few years, Liverpool appointed a coaching and managerial superstar.
Liverpool are still only six points behind fourth (form needed is to finish in top four is probably unsustainable) with a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final to contest this month and European football to resume next month. All may not be as it should be, but all is certainly not lost. Not yet anyway. Liverpool will probably win games against high-profile opponents in style before succumbing to lowlier ones with unacceptable meekness. The players are better than losing to Newcastle, Watford FC, and West Ham United in the manner that they did, but Klopp's work will take time. You're going to have to wait whether you like it or not so you might as well avoid unnecessarily torturing yourself in the meantime.