Any teacher worth their salt will tell you that teaching is a great way to learn. By explaining a concept to someone else, you generally gain a better understanding of that topic yourself.
The concept of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, in my very recent and personal experience, is an exception to this rule.
The last several weeks I’ve had family come to visit me (or more accurately the little human that we just created). In each case, often during matches, I tried explaining and contextualizing Liverpool’s achievements from the loss in Kiev onward. I talked about their heartbreaking loss, only to come back and win the thing in Madrid last year. I talked about losing the title by 11mm, and responding with the decision to win all the games. I talked about how even the academy players are stepping up and playing “The Liverpool Way.”
In each case, it occurred to me that these Reds defy explanation.
None of this makes sense, even to a footy fan. It makes even less sense without understanding the weight of Liverpool’s history and the new history this team is creating with each and every win.
It doesn’t make sense. No one—not even the most rose-tinted glasses, optimistic, and biased Liverpool fan—would have thought we would be here, 25 games played, 24 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses. No one would have thought we’d be 22 points clear, with some fans openly pondering whether a treble or invincible, record-breaking season would be better?
It doesn’t make sense that the kids would be charged with continuing Liverpool’s 21-year unbeaten run at Anfield against Everton. It makes even less sense that they pulled it off. And even less sense again that they kept our treble hopes alive—without Klopp or senior players to help—in the very next round.
I can’t explain what Liverpool are accomplishing because I don’t understand it myself. I might as well be explaining quantum mechanics or Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. By attempting to teach another person about quantum mechanics, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, or this Liverpool side, I only expose my own ignorance. I don’t know how it works, I just know that it works. It seems impossible and beyond the capacity of our primitive monkey brains to do or understand. But some great men have understood these concepts and created the end result. So while I cannot understand these things, I can appreciate them.
And for one, brilliant moment, my family got to appreciate it. West Ham won a corner. Liverpool cleared the danger. Jordan Henderson played Mohamed Salah into space. Mo picked out a streaking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a perfect outside-of-the-boot pass. Ox beat his man, stayed on his feet, and made it 2-0.
“Wow. They’re amazing!”
I know. Amazing. Brilliant. Determined. And about a million other adjectives, but somehow none of those words do them justice. I can’t explain it. I’m not sure many others can either. But we can watch them (FA permitting) and enjoy it.
No one knows how long this brilliance will last, and how many pieces of silverware they’ll collect along the way.
This season will almost certainly end with them as English Champions. The long-awaited #19. We might just keep winning the rest of the way in. But equally, it might end with a whimper. Perhaps they go out on away goals to Atletico Madrid. Perhaps their FA Cup run ends at Chelsea. Perhaps they miss out on an unbeaten season and/or a record points tally. In a word, perhaps we’ve peaked (or will do soon).
But what a ride it has been so far. It will come to an end, at some point. The only thing we can do is appreciate it in the moment. To understand that we’re seeing greatness. That we’re seeing accomplishments that we might not see from any side, Liverpool or otherwise, in our lifetimes.
With enough years in the rearview mirror, I might even be able to understand what Jurgen Klopp has accomplished. Though, probably not. All I know is that I can’t wait for the next inexplicable match, and the next record broken that completely defies logic or explanation. Up the inconceivable Reds.