A win against Fulham this afternoon would see us reclaim top spot from Manchester City in the Premier League. This season is shaping up to be a massive opportunity for us to be champions – and Danny Murphy think so too.
Writing in his regular column for the Daily Mail, the former Liverpool man said it’s a falsehood neutrals would want us to fail in our pursuit of the league title and that some of us Reds feel there’s an agenda against Liverpool as a club.
“I can understand why they would think like that — but I don’t agree. There is a lot more goodwill towards Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool up and down the country than they realise”, Murphy writes.
“Once I was part of that north-west rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool, which is so intense it seems to colour everything.
“But now I live in the south and travel to all parts of the country working, I have a broader overview, and can assure the people of Liverpool that perceptions of their city have changed, particularly with the younger generation, and the football club is admired because of what Klopp has done.
“It’s not the same situation as the Nineties when Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle seemed to be everyone’s second favourite team.”
Man City’s luck has to run out sooner or later
That’s now 11 offside goals they’ve scored this season.
Countless number of “soft penalties” too
But let me guess… “the FA want Liverpool to win the league”
— Si Señor Firmino (@SiSenorFirmino) March 16, 2019
Speak to any non-Liverpool supporter and they’ll likely tell you they like Klopp and admit that the way we play is exhilarating and a joy to behold (even if they say it begrudgingly). That said, City play a similar type of exciting, attacking football too.
This is what spilts neutral support for City and Liverpool. But, as Murphy asks: “Why do some Scousers doubt that?”
“Without getting political”, Murphy explains, “you have to look at the recent history, where they have gone through tough times and often felt scapegoated for all sorts of things; crime, unemployment, hooliganism. Added to that, there was jealousy from other fans because their football team was so good and won everything.
“For a long time Liverpool fans in general were castigated after Heysel and disgracefully tarnished after Hillsborough. But the city stuck together, including the Evertonians, and I remember standing on the Kop for the game at Anfield after Hillsborough, against Nottingham Forest. The togetherness and emotion was indescribable. I remember the tears and as a kid not really understanding.
“I’ve had that defensive mindset for a long time as well, so it’s a pleasure now to hear from many, many people that they would like Liverpool to be champions again because of their amazing football.”
As well as these significant and poignant arguments that Murphy makes, he also suggests that Liverpool’s relative underdog status is a key factor that others want them to win the league.
Unlike City, we haven’t won the league for 29 years. Another key difference? Money. Our levels of investment and purchasing power are not even close to theirs. Despite big money moves for Alisson and Van Dijk, City’s spending has a certain nauseating opulence about it.
“I obviously want Liverpool to be crowned champions” said Murphy. “I also think it would be good for the game for a club to show you can take on and beat a team as good and as expensively assembled as City.
“You don’t want a boring league, and it certainly isn’t at the moment.”
Too right, Danny! Jürgen and the boys will be looking to make it even more interesting by taking by pole position from City this afternoon – the psychological battle between us and City will go down to the wire.