The late-departed David Foster Wallace wrote his prescient essay E Unibus Pluram in 1993, descrying the prevalence of irony and the lack of sincerity and truth in modern culture. In short, he argued that the irony and ridicule are entertaining and effective, sure, but that they "are agents of great despair and stasis."
There are few reprieves from said despair and stasis, but sports are one. And DFW knew this. In one of the greatest pieces of sports-writing, ever, he delineated the fundamental moments of truth that sports provide, those that are marked by "when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you're O.K." Liverpool fans know something of this.
It's been fourteen years since Alex Ferguson famously said "my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch, and you can print that." It's been twenty-six years since Liverpool stood pat and let United come hunting for their position as the most decorated of all English clubs. In that time, Liverpool have added a few trophies, but like Moses, we have been forced to watch others reach the promised land.
Champions League titles are well and good, and one might be forgiven for believing that the Champions League is the true gauntlet in which a team manifests its worth. But the Champions League is a tournament: one need only look at Rafa Benitez's 2005 side to see what kind of havoc a limited squad can wreak if focused and tactically astute.
The league is a different challenge, one Liverpool have found insurmountable for far too long, finishing second place in 1990-91, 2001-02, 2008-09, and 2013-14. Thirty-eight games. One home, one away against each opponent. Without European football, one week at a time, as a general matter, excluding the fan-friendly, player-hating winter holiday season.
Jürgen is trimming the fat. Players are fighting for places in the season-opening starting eleven. New arrivals are vying to replace the Captain, and favorites have been let go. Jürgen has proclaimed this team his, and we are 181 hours from alea iacta est.
There are few, if any things I love more than this club. There are few, if any things that are constants in my life to the degree that Liverpool Football Club are. There are few, if any things that provide moments of pure truth, what Schopenhauer termed the sublime, the way Liverpool do.
Heidegger, Dostoevsky, and Kant all wrote extensively on the rift between pure thought and human action. That rift is where perversion of thought and intent occurs. The rare moments where thought and action coincide without the mediation of the rift are where we, the fallen, can roughly express a moment of truth. When the crowd willed Lovren's winner against Dortmund into back of the net we see this expression in its truest form. A pure, cathartic union of the physical and the ethereal. A pure, collective expression of will through an individual actor blessed to shoulder the mantle of Liverpool Football Club.
That collective sense of purpose is what Liverpool give us. This is what Shankly understood. This is what Paisley understood. This is what Dalglish understood. "This" is the following and applies to the entirety of the holy trinity: unmediated expression of the self directed towards furthering an idea of how football should be, e.g., the team is an avatar of a community.
There is a reason Liverpudlians insist we are not English we're Scouse. There is a reason Liverpool are Reds. There is a reason we have created some of the most memorable nights in football history. Klopp is bringing that collective-based animating ethos back to our club, Reds. He gets it. There is no more resignation. No more self-pity. No more ever-widening distance between the fan and squad. We go into the season together, as a Club.
"This is to remind our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against," Bill Shankly said when he hung the This is Anfield sign. A sign, mind you, Klopp banned players from touching because they have not earned the right to claim the cauldron.
Liverpool are on the rise, and they don't want to work on Maggie's farm no more. Liverpool are on the rise and we know our enemies. See also. Liverpool are on the rise and we are going to fucking take the power back.
T minus 179.5 hours, Reds, and I can't fucking wait to watch us win the league.