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.

Instead, they visibly wilted and fell apart in key areas of the field. They were overrun in midfield and exposed in defence. Their body language sagged. It was a desperate sight as Sevilla tore them to shreds.

The Spaniards are a very fine side who have now won the Europa League three seasons in succession but they are not Barcelona. Manchester City beat them 3-1 in their own stadium in this season's Champions League.

Klopp has managed his resources with this final in mind and Liverpool have shown incredible reserves of mental strength in this competition - notably when scoring three goals in the last 20 minutes to beat Borussia Dortmund at Anfield - but here they were weak and shrunk ominously at the first sign of adversity.

The difference was that they were inspired by a fervent Anfield atmosphere against Dortmund. In Basel, Liverpool's performance, and simply the way they looked mentally shot from the moment Sevilla equalised, gave their supporters no hope.

There were no Liverpool leaders on the night and certainly no sense they were about to mount a comeback of Dortmund proportions. This time the final whistle was a mercy.

Even Klopp's old tricks carried an air of desperation. He exhorted Liverpool's fans to inspire their team as they sank but it looked the act of a manager who knew the game was up. What were Liverpool's players doing to inspire their fans? He might have been better exhorting them.

When Klopp goes shopping this summer he must prioritise strong characters and find a leader who will stop what happened in Basel happening again on the big occasion.

Liverpool have conceded 19 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season. They are third in this list behind Chelsea (21) and Tottenham (20) - a statistic that adds weight to the argument that Klopp's team is a fragile one.

Klopp will search for better players this summer. He must also find mentally tougher ones.

source:BBC

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