Jürgen Klopp encouraged his crestfallen Liverpool players to sing one of the supporters’ chants in the hours after their Europa League final defeat, according to reports.
The squad are said to have been in downbeat in the early hours of Thursday morning as they held a party at their team hotel, which was planned before the 3-1 defeat to Sevilla in Basle.
According to the Daily Mail, Klopp brought his team together and told them: “Two hours ago you all felt s***. Now hopefully you all feel better. This is just the start for us. We will play in many more finals.”
The Liverpool manager then proceeded to start singing ‘We are Liverpool, tra-la-la-la!’, a song popularised by supporters during the club’s title challenge during the 2013/14 season and had his players join in.
Liverpool’s hopes of playing European football next season were extinguished by Sevilla, who sealed their third consecutive Europa League title with a devastating second-half comeback.
Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant strike had given Klopp’s side the lead going into the break but they were caught cold when play resumed and allowed Kévin Gameiro to tap home after just 17 seconds.
Who is playing for their Liverpool future?
The obvious place to start. Even in the early days, when he was at least scoring intermittently, last summer’s marquee signing has looked out of place at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp quite patently does not fancy him as anything but a ‘Plan B’. Liverpool would be wise to cash in on the Belgian before his market value falls through the floor.
The Spaniard must hate those 45 minutes he spends every week playing along the same touchline that his manager is standing on. Klopp bawling at Moreno, infuriated by his poor positioning and lapses in concentration, has become a regular sight at Anfield. Of all the players he inherited from Brendan Rodgers, the left-back seems to test Klopp’s patience the most and he’ll need to improve dramatically if he is to keep his starting berth for next season.
A surprising inclusion, maybe, but transfer whispers in recent weeks have suggested that Liverpool’s captain may have something to prove and, in a way, it all adds up. His main strength – box-to-box play – has been minimised by Klopp’s use of a No 10, he’s not as effective when sitting deep as Emre Can, his market value is high, he’s on a big contract and he may be permanently playing through pain for the rest of his career. Is he too good, too important to let go, or could Liverpool be tempted?
It’s hard to tell whether Mignolet has won Klopp over, whether he’s still got something to prove or whether his goose is cooked. The five-year contract he signed in January seemed to suggest that he’d be in between the sticks for at least another season but his performances have not deserved such confidence. Was the new deal a way of bumping up his market value before a better, more reliable ‘keeper comes in? Maybe. The Belgium international has the rest of the season to prove that the starting berth should be his and his alone.
All set for a new contract before Rodgers’ departure, the ‘Welsh Xavi’ now looks to be on his way out. His current deal expires in the summer of 2017 and, since Klopp’s arrival, his role has been scaled back to ‘squad player’. Is a return to former club Swansea City on the cards?
Questions remain over whether the youngster has what is required to establish himself at Anfield. Moments of match-winning quality have been brief, disappointing and ineffective cameos far too frequent. He’s the only player in the squad to resemble a traditional winger and Klopp appears to prefer his wide-men to cut inside.
A year ago, with his contract expiring in the summer, it was almost certain that this would be the defender’s last season at Anfield. Since Klopp’s arrival and that mid-season injury crisis, Toure has added substance to his cult hero status. His composed, mature performances have got supporters demanding he be awarded a new deal, though a stumbling block may be his sizeable wage.
Surely the Slovakian’s Liverpool career is on its last legs? He has suffered from a ‘boom and bust’ cycle, almost ever since arriving at Anfield, with each competent season followed by a terrible one. His saving grace might be that his performances this year have been so poor that, by the same logic, he should dramatically improve next term – but can that really be the basis for another year at the club?
Klopp’s side lost their shape and it was not long before Sevilla took the lead through a flowing team move, finished off by Coke, their captain.
Six minutes later, the marauding right-back popped up again to complete the turnaround with a controversial but ultimately legitimate third goal, from which Liverpool never recovered.
“Obviously the first goal had a big influence on our game,” said Klopp after the game. At this moment we lost faith in our style of play, we changed from passing quick and simple to complicated and lost our formation.
“It was not compact anymore,” he added. “I’ve had this problem one or two times with this situation.”
“We are disappointed and frustrated 100 per cent but tomorrow or later in the week we will see it a little bit more clearly and we will use this experience, that is what we have to do.”