There was a visible mix of elation, relief, and exhaustion on the face of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp as he took questions from a reporter in the immediate aftermath of the Reds’ 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Anfield. And who can blame him? This has been an up-and-down season for Liverpool, so it should surprise nobody that the final match of the campaign was also an up-and-down affair. But thanks to Gini Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana, things finished on an up note and the down notes were forgotten, as Klopp noted.
What can I say? We did the job. First half, it was difficult but nobody cares. In the moment when our timing got better, we were unbelievably dangerous.
I couldn’t imagine this morning that it would be like this. I’m a very positive guy, but still couldn’t completely ignore the possibility that it would be really tight until the end. Congratulations to the team, they did an outstanding job. 76 points. For us it was a difficult situation, we had a lot of injuries. Half the season, it felt like we were without a lot of key players.
Congratulations, indeed. Klopp was probably on the more positive-looking side of the spectrum relative to others, and there was no shortage of pundits and casual fans pointing out Liverpool’s struggles at home against clubs that decide to just close up shop. For a long stretch during the first half, it looked as though today would be another one of those days.
It’s a problem that Liverpool have not always been able to solve before full time, so Wijnaldum’s opener just before half-time was significant for so many reasons. Not least of which because it opened the door for Liverpool to participate in the big ticket competition. With the job finally done, Klopp was coaxed into offering a few more thoughts on the Champions League during the post-match conference.
Money-wise? We have enough money. That’s a difference, of course. We don’t hide more money then get it when we need it, it’s a normal business. It’s a sports thing that is interesting, of course it’s interesting that there is money, but it’s the best tournament in Europe, there’s nothing better, maybe in the world.
For me, it’s the best competition, you want to be there and Liverpool needs to be there consistently. I love the perspective, I would not say we’re already in because qualification is qualification and we’re already looking forward to it.
The talk of money naturally turns the discussion towards the summer transfer window, and the question of whom Liverpool will attempt to sign in order to bolster a squad that was at times stretched paper thin during a domestic-only campaign. Klopp had some encouraging words for supporters, as he suggested that the plans had long since been formulated and the groundwork already laid.
We are already pretty much done. What do you think? Tomorrow I will sit with Michael Edwards and say ‘What do you think?’ What do we need?’ – most of the work is already done.
Now we have decisions that need to be done, negotiations or whatever. But it’s all good and we are prepared and we will see what will work out and what won’t.
As will be the case with supporters, Klopp and the players will savor a satisfying finish to the campaign before turning their eyes to the work is to come. An interesting summer and an interesting 2017-18 lie ahead for Liverpool Football Club.