Firstly, Pep, can you explain the concept and format of Intensity?
First and foremost, it’s a tribute to our team, the way we work, how we see football and how we see life. Secondly, it’s to inspire all the people who love football. Hopefully it gives them real insight into how special Liverpool FC is, but also how special this period is. If you think you know Liverpool I think you still will be surprised! The format is week by week, game by game through the whole season, telling the story of what happened before, during and after from our perspective, but in real time: the leadership, the vision, the emotion, the fight! As I say in the book, I committed to doing this whatever happened during the season. I could not have predicted the season would turn out the way it did, but I felt something special was coming together.
How did the idea to write a book come about?
I always dreamt about writing a book, something life-lasting. Jürgen said so often, ‘You should write a book.’ In a season so much happens and many things will never be spoken about again, but these are the moments that especially define us – and now it is written down. I’m proud of us, I’m proud of the hard work. The opportunity was right and the timing even better. The diary I did for the official website during the 28-day training camp last summer was the start and then we decided to take it to the next stage by documenting the whole season, regardless of what happened.
And why did you think it was the right time to write it?
We were in Austria last summer and the season before hadn’t gone to plan: injuries, disappointments, the fight to achieve Champions League qualification. We needed a new start. I felt it would become a do-or-die season, in life you have these periods where you feel it’s now or never. Adversity can create a new start and exactly this happened, or at least that’s how we felt during the last pre-season. The media were talking about us not signing anyone except Ibou but I was sure after our pre-season that we would achieve. The 28 days away gave me the belief.
Did you write it in real time, like a diary?
Yes, I wrote every day. After each game I would send a summary of the last three days to James, or we would meet in my office at the AXA Training Centre or on matchdays at the Titanic Hotel. He then added, adjusted, rewrote and made it whole. I would write everywhere: on the plane, at the kitchen table, behind my desk, after the famous team meetings while we travelled on the bus to games, even in the dressing room. To be honest, the process helped me to put everything straight in my mind, it gave me a good overview of everything and I really enjoyed the dedication it took! I realised quickly that it only works when you are really disciplined. Not one moment in our season went unnoticed or untouched and with time the process became easier.
You couldn’t have picked a more interesting season to write about…
Interesting for sure. I’m just so curious how people will read it, they will relive this season from the insight and I truly hope they will be even prouder of LFC after reading it. Look, the tricky thing was that I didn’t know how things would end while I was writing it… but you guys know how it ends, haha! And you know what’s cool? We didn’t change or add anything. So, if you read something stupid it was stupid, and if you read something ‘wow’, it was ‘wow’.