Thursday, May 19, 2016

Europa League final: What next for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp - drained and coming to terms with the manner in which Sevilla dismantled his team in the Europa League final in Basel - uttered two small sentences of huge significance in the game's inquest.

Klopp had watched powerless as Liverpool collapsed like a house of cards from a lead and a position of superiority to lose 3-1 to Sevilla, squandering the chance of Champions League football next season in the process.

"This team will be a bit different next season, it is clear," said Klopp. "We will do something with transfers."

Klopp's personality, allied to Liverpool's history and ambition, will always attract players - but life will be infinitely more difficult in a fiercely competitive summer market without the magnet that the Champions League, or indeed European football of any sort, provides.
So what will Klopp need to change - and maintain - after Liverpool lost their second final of the season following the Capital One Cup defeat by Manchester City?

Liverpool lack mental strength
The manner in which Liverpool's performance fell off a cliff once Kevin Gameiro equalised for Sevilla 17 seconds after the break, cancelling out Daniel Sturridge's brilliant opener, was alarming and Klopp was clearly taken aback.

"We lost faith in our style of play," said the German. "We changed from passing simple and quick to slow and complicated and lost our formation."

This was a damning indictment but a painful truth. Yes, Gameiro's equaliser was a psychological blow but Liverpool still had virtually the entire second half to put matters right.