Martin King discusses how Liverpool’s hopes of silverware in future years may lie in the past hurts inflicted by failures like the Europa League final heartbreak.
Turning Liverpool’s fortunes around was never going to be an easy job for Jürgen Klopp, was it? In fact, the Reds boss reminded the fans of this by admitting he was no David Copperfield back in February.
The passionate Kopites were again reminded of this fact, rather painfully, by their side’s failure to win in two huge cup finals this season – first in the Capital One Cup then in the Europa League. However, as painful as that experience has been, Klopp’s players mustn’t overlook the value in learning from failure as doing so could be the key that finally unlocks greater success under the revered German.
Liverpool endured a fairly mixed 2015/16 season. A decent enough start to the campaign, which saw them collect seven points from their first three Premier League games under Brendan Rodgers was followed by a dull run of one win in nine games.
The writing was on the wall for many and almost immediately after the Reds’ 1-1 draw at Merseyside rivals Everton, Rodgers’ managerial reign at the club was brought to an end. It was a hard fall from grace, the Northern Irishman had almost delivered the league title in 2013/14 but had struggled to build on the club’s second-placed finish.
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The atmosphere around Anfield was gloomy yet fans were expectant and just four days later everyone connected with the club was filled with excitement again. It was the sight of Klopp’s grin as well as his first press conference – where he proclaimed himself ‘The Normal One’ – that got fans and experts dreaming of the future.
Klopp made a humble start to life as Liverpool boss, the eccentric German sought to turn doubters into believers and there was little doubt he was succeeding in doing so after his first league win – a 3-1 victory over Chelsea.
Outstanding performances against Manchester City and Southampton did little to waver the Anfield faithful’s renewed belief, showing just how great an impact he had on the club in only his first few months in charge.
However, there were still performances and results that gave fans and pundits a fair reflection of the team’s weaknesses – think of the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, the 2-2 against West Brom or the 3-0 at Watford – showing that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Either way, Liverpool bounced back from their defeats and continued to show signs of progression under the former Borussia Dortmund manager. The Reds reached the Capital One Cup final which they sadly lost on penalties to Manchester City and only a few months later overcame some of Europe’s top clubs in Manchester United and Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund, reaching the Europa League final which again ended in a painful 3-1 defeat to Sevilla.
Photo – The Independent UK
In the end, the Reds lost the opportunity to win silverware and a place in next season’s Champions League and that wasn’t bettered by an eighth place finish in the Premier League, making it easy for anyone to conclude that the 2015/16 season has been a big failure for the Merseyside club.
However, a look on the bright side suggests that Klopp could build his success on this season’s failures. The 48-year-old resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to his squad in January, insisting he’d like some time to analyse his side until the end of the season.
That time has come and despite already signing two players (Marko Grujic and Joel Matip) the Liverpool boss surely has more ideas of which areas he’d like to improve on. Success, though, won’t all depend on new players, those of the current crop who have learned Klopp’s methods will certainly have a big part to play in the near future and the experience of defeat under their manager should inspire them to achieving greater success.
Expectations will certainly rise next season, especially given the fact that the club will be without European football.
If the saying “you learn more from losing than you do from winning” is true, Klopp and his players will be looking to make use of every opportunity they get to learn from their losses and finally achieve victory.
This is Martin’s first piece for Rousing the Kop. If you’d like to tell him how he performed leave a comment.
Featured Image – This is Anfield