The club that may be within Liverpool's aims
I know it's anathema to English fans to praise anything German. And I get it, because they kind of just do everything a little better (though let's face it, their beer is kind of overrated). But their love of meat goes just a little further, their women are more attractive (though not equipped with a sense of humor that we're accustomed to here in the States), their trains run on time, they make better cars, the whole thing. It's annoying. And their football team keeps progressing even when they shouldn't, and now they've exported all their rejects on the US squad I pin my emotions on.
But as a Liverpool fan, while the stated-goal or architect of what Brendan Rodgers wants to install has been Barcelona, the club and supporters would do well to look east in stead of south, to Northwest Germany and Borussia Dortmund. Because they make for a better parallel.
Even if Puyol, Pique (somewhat), Valdez, Pedro, Iniesta, and Messi are homegrown Barca players, Alves, Alba, Villa, Fabregas, Masscherano and a couple others are not. And some of their prices are ones that Liverpool would never be able to reach.
Dortmund also have a similar recent story. They won a Champions League not so long ago, were a perennial domestic force, until poor stewardship and financial turmoil turned them into also-rans for a longer time than any of their supporters probably could have imagined. They even flirted with relegation, something we haven't had to endure (yet).
But then it took a new ownership, and the hiring of a young, imaginative manager to change things around. And anyone who has seen Dortmund tear apart City twice and Madrid once in this Champions League would certainly agree that they would love to see Liverpool play like this at some point in the future.
Because Dortmund are an absolute blast to watch. They seem to get goals from everywhere. They have nine guys who have scored multiple times across competitions right now. They are deep, they only need Lewandowski for the last quarter of an hour last night to see of the English champions. They play a fast, open system where it seems like they always have a man over. They are lethal on the counter. They don't have the sometimes ponderous probing that Barcelona have to employ at times. They have uncompromising defenders who can play. They simple weave openings everywhere. It's a fucking Zeppelin song.
They were built through their own system and smart buys from smaller clubs. They've even been able to lose some key players from the past (Barrios, Sahin) and not lose a step. They've convinced others to stay (Lewandowski, Reus). They've made themselves a destination.
Granted, Dortmund only have to compete with one genuine super power in their league -- Munich -- whereas Liverpool have at least three in United, City, and Chelsea (not to mention Arsenal's greater financial strength should they ever decide to employ it). It's easier to pull yourself up into the aristocracy of the Bundesliga than it is the Premier League.
But emulating Dortmund, and being able to employ that mode of play and management should see anyone be able to compete anywhere.
Oh, and Westfalen, due to its steepness and sheer volume -- it's the loudest stadium I've ever been in, and I grew up in old Chicago Stadium -- is just about the scariest and yet most awesome place on Earth. And nothing Anfield couldn't be if the redevelopment is done right.