WHAT a difference a change in the weather can make. The dark days of winter seem a long time ago already. The sun is out on Merseyside, Bank Holidays are coming thick andŠfast,Šsales of shorts and flip flopsŠhave gone through the roof, and fans are flocking to and from Anfield with smiles on their faces once more. Viva la revolution, as they say.
Well, not quite. Liverpool's progress since the departure of Roy Hodgson back in the second week of January has been nothing short of remarkable. No Reds supporter who was at Newcastle, or Blackburn, or Everton, will ever forget just how poor their side had become. They certainly were not the kind of side that could take 27 points from 14 games, brushing aside Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in the process.
John W Henry, and his dream team of Steve Clarke, Damien Comolli and, of course, Kenny Dalglish.
Those three have been key appointments, of course, andŠall deserve their share of credit for the club's upsurge in form -ŠClarke and Dalglish, in particular, appear to beŠa management match made in heaven - but it is the way in which Liverpool are going about their business these days that is most impressive. Evolution, not revolution is the order of the day at Anfield.
Yes there have been extravagant purchases. Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll cost the club a combined £57.8m, and more are expected to join them this summer, but they are but two signings, when most had opined during the Hodgson era that Liverpool required as many as 8 or 9 new faces before they could even be considered for a European challenge.
SuchŠclaims, already, look desperately short-sighted.
Dalglish, assuming the formalities of his permanent appointment are ironed out, is likely to dip into the transfer market again come the season's end, and a number of players are likely to be offloaded, but for the time being he has concentrated on that lost managerial art - coaching and developing the players already at his disposal.
The emergence of youngsters John Flanagan and Jack Robinson, as well as the more developed Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly, lays waste to myopic claims that the club's academy is failing. The likes of Conor Coady, Raheem Sterling and the prolific Adam Morgan already look well placed to follow in their footsteps in the coming months and years.
Furthermore, the Dalglish (and Clarke) influence has managed to elicit vastly-improved displays from the players who had looked so out of sorts under Hodgson and, in truth, during the latter days of Rafael Benitez.
Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson, prior to his unfortunate hamstring injury, look infinitely more solid and secure, Dirk Kuyt is playing arguably the best all-roundŠfootball of his Anfield career, and Lucas LeivaŠhas steadily continued his development intoŠone of the Premier League's most effective holding midfielders.
Even the fringe players are staking their claims. Maxi Rodriguez's hat-trick against Birmingham last week showed his merits as a squad player, and Dalglish has waxed lyrical about the attitude and application of Joe Cole, who was also on target in that victory.
There are still gaps to be plugged, of course. The likes of Milan Jovanovic, David Ngog, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen are unlikely to be at the club in six months' time, and an injection of pace in wide areas is still needed, but Dalglish and his players deserve immense credit for the work they have done, and the manner in which they have proven the doubters wrong.
Not through wild trolley dashes in the transfer market, or throughŠkneejerk decisions, but by simple virtues; hard work, teamwork, self-belief and, perhaps most importantly, rediscovering the enjoyment that playing football can bring.
With Dalglish at the helm, and with Liverpool's players responding, Anfield has become a happy place to watch football once again.
Viva la evolution, it seems.