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Transfer Rater: Zielinski to Liverpool

Football Whispers
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Liverpool fans giddy as Jurgen Klopp allows supporters to dream

Some may frown upon Liverpool supporters' excitement about the team's 100 percent start to the Premier League season. Watford have also done it, after all.

Following a summer where the Reds were reluctantly shoved front and centre of the pack about to chase Manchester City, there's almost a sense of relief underpinning the enjoyment of a good start.

There's also the rarity to be considered. In the Premier League era, Liverpool have won their opening three matches in a mere handful of seasons. The last time was 2013, which led to their last proper title challenge. That also has been a rarity.

It's incredible given the stunning success this club had leading up to 1991. In the 15 seasons before that, they'd won 10 titles and came second four times. In the one "failure" they won the European Cup.

It's hard to stomach the severe drop-off in their title involvement since. Liverpool remain one of the biggest clubs on the planet, yet it seldom seems as though what happens on the pitch truly reflects that.

That's why there's always a high level of giddiness whenever fans suspect good times are just around the corner. It irritates many outsiders, but what of it? Is this start merely a trick of the fixture list, or indicative of something big on the horizon? Conjecture is always fun.

Jurgen Klopp's job description is ever-shifting. On arrival it was merely to get the Reds back among the big teams again. After two consecutive top-four finishes and a Champions League final, that task shifts again.

By spending some money at last the owners appear to recognise that too. Calls for patience and understanding often fall on deaf ears, regarded cynically as a rationalisation of or deflection from failure.

It happens at all clubs. Witness Jose Mourinho's desperate reference to his three league titles at Chelsea while floundering with Manchester United. All this after three games!

In a sense Klopp is protected, not just by an engagingly goofy persona but also by how far Liverpool have fallen in modern times. Nobody in their right mind expects three league titles in six years, like at City, or three European titles in a row like Real Madrid.

Expectation is steadily rising, however, probably more so than at any club in the world with a similar modern record. Compare it to Tottenham, for example. Troublesome? Certainly. Unfair? Most likely, but that's the way it is.

Klopp can at least claim to be planted in the same kind of middle ground that predecessors like Roy Evans and Rafa Benitez inhabited. Reasonably good play and reasonably high league positions -- but reason rarely hangs around the upper echelons of football for long.

As the wait for a league title lengthened it often appeared as though Liverpool were utterly derailed whenever they've got very, very close.

The Benitez team of season 2009-10 was barely recognisable from the one that finished four points behind United a year before, despite only really losing Xabi Alonso from the first XI. He was soon fired.

The same happened to Brendan Rodgers, and the often scorching football his team played in his title challenge year offered up no job security either.

Each manager comes and goes, and the same rationalised lament arises from the terraces; supporters must be patient. Should there be stumbles along the way, they must ride through it and support the manager -- wise words which are unfortunately seldom adhered to.

What is a "genuine title challenge" anyway? Opinions vary, but if you're looking at the table on April 1 and calculating how your team can win the league without recourse to dramatic collapses from others that would roughly qualify.

With that generous perception then, Liverpool probably competed for their domestic league five times since they last won it 28 years ago. For a major club, that's not good enough.

Klopp and this new team are therefore battling more than their opponents. They are fighting modern history and the impression of a club that has talked loud but said very little for a few decades.

Despite reaching last year's Champions League final -- also 2016's Europa League final -- Liverpool will still be in Pot 3 for Thursday's European draw. All of the optimism inside Anfield isn't going to affect the dismissive perception of the club that prevails even now.

That wasn't going to be transformed overnight, and three league wins against sides that will probably finish in the bottom ten doesn't contribute much either.

The long haul and the bigger picture, though not sexy and actually rather boring, always need to be respected.

Otherwise the same cycle of despair, improvement, hope, failure and back to despair will play out in an infinite loop.

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