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Klopp on Europa League Loss: "It Still Hurts"

Two months on, the Liverpool boss still feels the bitter sting of that huge European loss.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Losses in European cup finals always bring a special kind of hurt to a team, but with so much riding on the 2016 Europa League final, Liverpool's loss was an especially bitter pill to swallow. No one knows that as well as Jürgen Klopp, who took over the struggling side in October and managed to steer them through an unlikely cup run, only to have them lose in the final.

Two months on and that game still hurts. Recently Klopp opened up about his feelings over that defeat and what it should mean for the team going forward.

"Of course I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this," he began.

"It was long ago but it still feels bad. After the game I was not in the mood to think too much about the first half but later I did and it was obvious that we’d played a good game in the first half and we could have been in a clearer lead.

"We could have had a penalty for handball, all this stuff that you see afterwards. It’s not interesting because it’s over but as a human being it’s quite difficult to accept all this stuff. Of course you have moments when you still suffer a little bit."

In the second half is when it all fell apart, or as Klopp eloquently puts it, "something broke." Liverpool conceded moments after the restart, and were on the back foot for the next forty-five excruciating minutes.

"In the second half, (the equaliser) 18 seconds in was too soon," Klopp said.

"I’ve thought a lot about half-time but there wasn’t anything too special that I could highlight - that we were not too sure about the game or something like this.

"We knew it was only half-time and there was still a lot of work to be done but then what happened, happened.

"When you watch it again you see that something broke at that moment. Different players had no weapons any more. They had no power and no confidence.

"You saw that. We went too deep in a lot of positions and we were not close enough to the challenges.

"All of it was not too good but it was, of course, about the intensity that we had had on the way to the final. We’d had to over-perform one or two times, we had to play very special games and we’d had a lot of games.

"We’d tried everything to have fresh legs for the final, but none of this is an excuse because this was not a final that we should have lost but we lost and that’s the truth."

As for what Liverpool can take from their defeat going forward, Klopp seems wary of letting this loom over his players as they go into a fresh season.

"You have to take the right thoughts from it and that’s what we’ll try to do but that’s not easy because you can’t bring all of this up in the first meeting and say: ‘Look, I hope you had a wonderful holiday, but I want to tell you the second half in Basel was not so good’. That wouldn’t make sense.

"It’s an experience, one that you don’t need, but we will get on with it.

"We had no luck in the game. Sevilla had a few moments in the first half when they needed a bit of luck and they had it, but it’s over and it doesn't feel as bad now as it did at the time."

There will be no famous European Anfield nights for Liverpool this season, but this is a huge season for the Reds nonetheless. With any luck, the team that Klopp is putting together can provide some magic anyway and give the fans something to cheer about.

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