Or, as Jurgen Klopp would have liked the theory best, they simply reminded everyone else of it.
After a turbulent October in Anfield, a disputed Liverpool remembered who they were in Amsterdam.
Liverpool showed a strong performance in Amsterdam, sealed a 1-0 victory over Ajax and ensured a perfect start to the Champions League.
Liverpool didn’t exactly rise from the ashes with their performance in the Johan Cruyff Arena – there was no need to do so – but after a very difficult and often shocking three weeks, they at least pulled out of the firefighters’ cage after betting on a plane in Group B in the Champions League.
Three years ago, when the Reds under Klopp returned to Europe’s most important competition, this performance would not have earned them three points. But Liverpool has grown and developed so much under their manager that the courage to fight is one of their most valuable virtues.
The famous, almost clichéd “mentality monsters” may not have achieved their record-breaking, historic performance here against Ajax, but this performance showed all the characteristics of the teakwood-hard mentality that distinguishes them.
A prickly lump boasted in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday night at the mere suggestion of this fact and said “Obviously you all think we’re going to fight, we have to prove you wrong if I don’t care.
A series of injury problems, particularly with Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, and the still shocking 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa have left some outsiders with the impression that there could be a more fallible, humane Liverpool this season from the previous two seasons, which ended with a 98-point average in the Premier League and a Champions League Cup.
The sense of injustice had apparently fuelled the Liverpool camp after the demolition derby with Everton on Saturday, with even the meek Gini Wijnaldum voicing the grievances of himself and his colleagues.
If Klopp really believes that he and his protégés still have to prove the opposite to anyone, he will feel enormously justified when he boards the flight back to Merseyside.
If the idea was to put the likeable Dutchman in front of the TV cameras to avoid further losses due to the controversial draw with local opponents, the plan backfired when he interfered with the behavior of the Blues and especially the actions of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, whose potentially end-of-season tackle against Virgil van Dijk he described as “completely stupid.
As the bad mood after the deserby continued well into the middle of the week in Liverpool, the Reds raged on and secured a hard-fought and valuable victory in the home of the Dutch giants.
In their first encounter since December 1966, a patchwork of Liverpool players dug up the most satisfying of all 1-0 victories to see how they gained early control of Group B alongside the adventurous Atalanta.
The defender, though not under pressure, was not able to assert himself before giving the visitors the advantage.
The Premier League champions took the lead after half an hour under bizarre circumstances when Nicolas Tagliafico somehow managed to get the ball into his own net after it had flown over the six-yard box.
If the Reds are to continue to thrive in the long-term absence of the incomparable Van Dijk, Fabinho will be absolutely indispensable wherever he is deployed, and so this performance here was a great opportunity to assert his growing influence. The Brazilian was impeccable at the side of Joe Gomez.
The Eredivisie side thought they had an equalizer from Dusan Tadic, but midfield substitute Fabinho continued his excellent form as provisional defender in this Liverpool system.