Liverpool fans can sometimes be a defeatist bunch. It’s the downside to having a storied history, at least when history hasn’t been all that storied in recent decades. There have been modern glories, certainly, but when it comes to the main prize, the Premier League era has been a dry one.
With only close to fall back on over the past 25 years, fans tend to think back to those painful nearly moments whenever something goes wrong. They remember the late losses, the unexpected stumbles, the dropped points against lower opposition that in the end added up to nearly and not quite.
Jürgen Klopp has worked hard against the loaded weight of the club’s own storied history and recent failures, talking of turning doubters into believers. And it’s worked, to an extent. He’s pushing back against it again now, as Liverpool prepare for a run of games that could be key to this season’s hopes and dreams.
"We are not the last 25 years,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “We are now. As much as we love all the guys from the past who created this club, we cannot make their job. We have to do our job. This moment at Liverpool is fantastic, and we have to use it. We are in the present really good and the future is bright.
“That doesn't mean that we can't lose games. What really makes the joy a little bit smaller is when we lose a game people say 'that's like the season when we lost to I-don't-know where'. It's not, it's never the same. We do not have it in our DNA that we lose a decisive game.”
It’s like the time Steven Gerrard slipped. It’s like the time Federico Macheda bailed out Manchester United. It’s like that mid-season stumble and one win from nine. Only it’s not, not yet at least, and all those nearly seasons weren’t nearly seasons until the end. This time could be like those other times.
It could be. But it isn’t yet. Liverpool have had brief stumbles but no disastrous runs. There’s plenty of time for others to have their unexpected dip in form. For others to have their slip. Or for Liverpool to get that unexpected, necessary goal from a fringe player who’s never heard from again.
"Let's do it and let's try it,” Klopp added. “We are good enough and the club is big enough. We have the owners we need because they don't want to sell players. Nobody should leave here because of money. We are not the best-paying club in the world, but we can pay enough to stay.
"We are young enough, we are good enough, we are strong enough and we have an outstanding, skilled team. The only problem is there are a few teams around that have not a worse team, too. It's still football. The more you wish doesn't make it more likely, but it's still possible and we will stay in the race, for sure."