Another final, another defeat.
Many will wake with sore heads across the Liverpool family, as was probably always going to be the case. However, the sweet hangover cure of silverware and a spot in the Champions League will not be waiting on the bed side table.
“Liverpool and European Cups are a match made in heaven,” was repeated throughout the day. The running narrative suggested nothing but a fourth trophy heading back to Anfield after the Reds dumped Manchester United out and then produced a comeback of epic proportions against Borussia Dortmund.
It started off so well.
A stupendous Sturridge strike couldn’t help but fuel the pre-celebrations, but, like at a Pepsi company do, somebody brought Coke along and crashed the party.
Not only the loss itself, but the nature of it, left palms firmly on the faces of three quarters of St. Jakob-Park. It was total bottle job. Some have tried to blame the referee, Jonas Eriksson, but the fingers can only be pointed at those in red who surrendered the lead and never looked like getting it back.
Short term, it will sting; Long term however, you never know.
It has been widely acknowledged that this summer represents an opportunity to clear out the clutter. The loss of the match and heads on the pitch will only go to accelerate the sales of those Jurgen Klopp sees no potential in.
The defence in particular, which was already under vast scrutiny, will only be looked at in more depth. Divisive characters such as Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno may have improved since the German took over from Brendan Rodgers, but their failure to perform when the pressure was amped up in a crucial game will only add to the questions already asked.
It can be argued victory could have made Klopp have second thoughts about these players and cemented their place in the squad for next year. Now at least, they will be properly evaluated. It is not only outgoings either. The future of Kolo Toure is still up in the air, but on last nights valiant showing, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to give the Ivorian veteran a new contract, if only to give the younger players an example to follow both on and off the pitch.
All eggs were put into the basket, and gambled away for a shot at a place with the continent’s elite but ultimately failed. Now, the emphasis is on the summer, as Liverpool face a year without European football but in a year of more transition, this could be a blessing rather than a curse. Get it right and there could be a repeat of 2013/14 on the cards.
Along with Chelsea, it is open for Liverpool to go all out for the Premier League.
However, it will be getting it right which will be the critical element for Klopp and all of those behind transfers.
Gone should be those who don’t believe, those who will crumble at the first sign of pressure. Coming in should be those who will put themselves on the line to bring rock and roll football to the city of music.
The loss was gutting but it will not be in vain.
Regardless of whether you’re licking the wounds after missing out on the trophy, the Champions League place, or just seeing the team implode in such a fashion; it isn’t the end of the world. Long term it could the catalyst in taking the Reds back to where they belong.
Buckle in ladies and gentleman, because we will go again.