Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson insists he knew the Reds were going to win the Premier League title for the first time after Mohamed Salah ensured a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield back in January.
The Merseyside club clinched the three points against their arch rivals thanks to a Virgil van Dijk header and Salah’s stoppage-time effort on the counter-attack, which sent Anfield wild and saw the entire stadium launch into a passionate impromptu chorus of: ‘We’re going to win the league’.
It was the first time in years that chant had been heard sung at Liverpool’s home stadium, with the previous occasion it was chanted with such gusto coming in 2013-14 before Brendan Rodgers’ team threw away the chance of a first title since 1990 by losing at home to Chelsea and drawing with Crystal Palace in the final three games.
But in the 2019-20 season, Liverpool’s win over United on January 19 lifted them 16 points clear of title rivals Manchester City with 22 games played of the campaign after title-holders City drew to Crystal Palace a day earlier.
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And Jurgen Klopp’s charges would go on to end the club’s lengthy wait for a championship in July and went on to end the season with a club-record 99 points and 32 wins from 38 games.
But it was the win against United which made it clear to Robertson for the first time all season that the Reds were going to go on and claim a long-awaited top-flight crown, the Scot says.
Writing in his new book, Robbo: Now You’re Gonna Believe Us, to be released by Reach PLC at the end of this week and that tells the story of Liverpool’s title-winning campaign, Robertson said: “I was in the canteen a couple of days beforehand and a few of us were talking about what the atmosphere was going to be like.
“I shouted over to (head of club and supporter engagement) Tony Barrett to see what he thought and he said if we won it would definitely be the day when ‘And Now You’re Gonna Believe Us’ erupted at Anfield.
“I didn’t like that. ‘It’s too early for that,’ I said. ‘They need to wait until it’s almost in the bag. That’s the time, not mid-January’.
“I got the enthusiasm and, if I was a fan, my mindset would have been exactly the same. But as a player, all I could focus on was the need to keep things ticking over without getting too excited.
“I also knew that, in some quarters, the song could be used as a stick to beat the club with the moment we suffered any kind of setback.
“As it had happened previously and I didn’t want it to happen again.
“On top of that I knew United would like nothing better than to derail us, so I was determined not to get caught up in the expectation that was growing on a daily basis.
“Games against United are always tough and this one had been no different but in the seconds after that goal went in, it felt like there was a surge of electricity going around the ground.
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“Then, it started. ‘And now you’re gonna believe us. And now you’re gonna believe us. And now you’re gonna believe us – we’re gonna win the league’.
“Over and over again, louder and louder, a chant suddenly became a declaration.
“This wasn’t hope, it wasn’t even a statement of intent, this was the Anfield crowd telling everyone who was willing to listen and plenty more besides that their team was going to be champions.
“I have to confess, though, that for a split second after it started I just thought, ‘Please don’t’.
“But then the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and immediately I understood.
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“Two seconds later, I was joining in. The emotions that this one song stirred are indescribable.
“The only thing that has ever come close is when everyone in the ground sings ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on big European nights, but this was on another level again.
“The genie was well and truly out of the bottle and all we could do was go with it.
“It felt like an approval from the fans and a sign of good times to come. That day they wanted to sing that song to their rivals.
“The way it made me feel, the shockwaves it sent through my body when they started singing it, I thought then that we would go on and do it.
“I still get shivers thinking about that. That was the moment when we thought: We aren’t letting these people down.
”At that point, I think I went from thinking we could become champions to believing we would become champions.
“Of course, we couldn’t come out and say it and none of us would, but there’s no question that everything felt right.
“There was a definite shift and in hindsight it had probably been building for a bit before the United game, I just hadn’t been ready to acknowledge what the supporters already knew.
“Over a period of time, everything was moving in the direction of this being a special season and that we were going to run away with it.
“It’s easy to say that now it’s happened but I honestly felt that way at the time.
“When our crowd sung that song as emphatically as they did we had to believe it, of course we did. If you said you didn’t believe it, you’d be lying.”
Robbo: Now You’re Gonna Believe Us is on sale Thursday September 17 from reachsportshop.com for 25% off. ebook also available, audiobook coming soon.
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