Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is used to the unequivocal backing of his club’s supporters, having spent years in charge of Borussia Dortmund, but yesterday afternoon, he was left feeling “very alone” at Anfield.
Having presided over an unbeaten run of six games prior to Crystal Palace turning up on Merseyside yesterday afternoon, the German could have been forgiven for thinking that the Reds faithful were fully behind him and his players, but after seeing Scott Dann head Palace into an 82nd minute lead following a corner, Klopp looked on in disbelief as the stands emptied around him.
His managerial reign may only be seven games old, but it’s telling that the charismatic Klopp felt compelled to comment on the lack of faith shown by Liverpool fans in what was his first ever defeat in charge. Clearly, after growing used to the German way of operating, he was a tad taken aback by the speed at which the home crowd made their exit into the night.
Whilst their recent record against us is worryingly poor, the trend of beating the traffic by leaving a few minutes early is one which will not chime with Klopp’s way of looking at football fandom, destroying a degree of the mythical status that enshrines the Liverpool fan base on a global scale. Of course, during the glory years, their fans had very little to voice their discontent over, but now, after years of false dawns, that sense of unerring support is unquestionably waning, giving way to an insatiable hunger for instant and sustained success.
There is little doubt over the German’s managerial credentials, with the early signs of his tenure in the Anfield hot seat appearing to be overwhelmingly positive, but if both and his new employers’ fans are to build a lasting and loving bond, there may well have to be a bit of compromise on both sides, such is the malaise that has wormed its way into the habits of a great number of the British football watching public.
What can be said without any hint of sarcasm, is that our players and coaches were given a huge amount of backing by the 2,000 enclave of Palace fans housed to the left of the dugouts yesterday afternoon, just as you would expect.
Thankfully, we as fans appear to be holding out better than most in the battle against apathy. Long may it continue.