I’ve written some pretty derogatory things about the direction Barca were going over the years. A lot of people thought that’s because I was a Liverpool fan. It wasn’t.
In fact, while we are on that subject it’s important people realise there is no rivalry between Barcelona and Liverpool. The people of Barcelona know this. They came to Anfield, they sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and they applauded albeit in shock when Liverpool overturned what seemed like an impossible deficit.
Proper old school Barcelona fans are a class act and no matter how much social media tries to create animosity, it’s not actually there and both teams and fans hold each other in high regard.
Historically even, there were men from Liverpool who chose to fight against Franco, something many Catalans have not forgotten.
I’ve been a Liverpool fan for three decades now. I love the club with all my heart, but in recent years I’ve fallen out of love with watching Liverpool.
This is mainly down to the Premier League and the “win at all costs” mentality and down to who I am as a football fan.
We all want our teams to win but the best explanation I can give of the type of fan I am is that I enjoyed football more when Liverpool were playing what Klopp referred to as “heavy metal” football and not winning the trophies we went on to.
“So you’re a loser” perhaps, but more so I’d want Liverpool to continue in this manner and win.
I’ve written about it before but when Klopp came to the Premier League he was a free spirit, his energy was boundless and his style of football clear.
Maybe Klopp needed to win at all costs for his legacy, maybe after the harsh defeats he’d suffered and he did that. I’m happy for him and Liverpool but I feel like the league moulded him into something he was not.
Klopp used to love being the underdog, he thrived off it and it’s why the best Liverpool performance and most like him in recent years was overcoming Barca at Anfield.
Part of the reason Liverpool fans go on about that so much is that to beat Barcelona is about as good as it gets. Every Origi gif is actually a huge compliment to the Blaugrana.
I’m loathed to talk about him, especially in a positive way (read my other posts and you’ll see why) but one thing Guardiola has over Klopp for me is that he refused to bend to the league, instead he made the league more like what he had known.
He made it common place in England that goalkeepers play like sweepers (he didn’t invent it as a lot of people have said but he did bring it to England)
Klopp getting the better of the likes of City and United doesn’t get the credit it deserves when you look at the wage budgets and net spend.
You’re here for Barca though, right? Well Barca are a shitshow thanks to Bartomeu. The reason I gave all that abuse Barca’s way? Him. I’d say I’ve been proven more than right.
He turned Barca into a poor man’s Real Madrid with high transfer prices and high wages paid to players who had undoubted quality but were square pegs to be fitted into round holes.
When you think back to Barcelona at their very best, they had indubitable style. Players from the academy who knew only one way, the Barca way.
How do Barca get out of this mess? Players like them. Busquets, Araujo, Pique, Pedri, Fati, Moriba and those to come like Gavi et al. No offence to Alba who is now Barca through and through and De Jong who is perfect for the club as they are the kind of supplementary signings that bring it all together.
This is where Barca will find themselves again.
A billion in debt with a manager I’m not sold on and a 34-year-old Lionel Messi.
Cruyff summed it up for me in regards to how I see football:
“Quality without results is pointless, but results without quality is boring.”
I think it will be a while before Barca are going to be winning in the manner they have in the past but if they commit to playing the Barca way, the Cruyff way, the Rinus Michels way, the Ajax way then Barcelona will not only be back on the top of the mountain, but they’ll be there playing the most beautiful brand of football there is.
In an era where football is more about winning than ever before and substance seems less and less important to people, Barcelona are the perfect club for me because they can only be Barcelona if they mix style and substance.
Visca Barca, visca Catalunya!