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Klopp Looks Forward to the Promise of 2021/22 Season After a Tough 2020/21

The Liverpool manager is happy to be back where we should be after a testing season

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool behind the scenes at a photoshoot prior the Carabao Cup Final at AXA Training Centre on February 25, 2022 in Kirkby, England.
Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool behind the scenes at a photoshoot prior the Carabao Cup Final at AXA Training Centre on February 25, 2022 in Kirkby, England.
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp spoke to journalists ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, and he opened up about how tough he found last season to be.

Speaking to Paul Joyce of The Times, Klopp was open in his discussions of 2020/21’s difficulties, which included the injuries on the squad, the isolation of empty stadia, and challenges posed by the uncertainties of the pandemic — as well as tough experiences outside of the context of the club, including centrally the loss of his mother, whose funeral he was unable to attend due to the pandemic.

The Liverpool manager spoke eloquently on how wonderful it has been, after the difficulty of last season, to have fans back in supporting the team, having found the empty grounds to be especially challenging last season. That said, he doesn’t want the struggles the squad faced to cause us to overlook what they achieved amidst the difficulties:

But if you have [had] no atmosphere, you take each atmosphere [even if it’s not that good]. In some moments, it was the hardest time of our lives — at least our football lives — because you are still Liverpool but with half-cut wings. You try to fly but it is pretty difficult.

I am an emotional coach, we are an emotional team, we are an emotional club. We are not like a little bit here, a little bit there. We need this extra bit. That was obviously not there and it was not helpful in the most difficult situation we had. Injury-wise, it was absolutely crazy.

That is why I always say, after winning the Premier League [in 2019-20], winning the Champions League [in 2019], winning other cup competitions, finishing third last season comes next pretty quickly because that was incredible how we did that in the end. We were pretty much on three wheels, getting somehow over the line.

More than anything, Klopp was open about how hard he found last season, both for himself and for the team as a whole.

It was an incredibly intense season and, yes, I was more than happy for a holiday. For the first ten days, I didn’t take out the phone one time, or whatever, and ask, ‘Could we have this player?’ I couldn’t have cared less at that moment.

Why should managers be different [from other people]? But for all of us it was the same. We were all really drained. Just finished. Done.

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It was so hard. You don’t have solutions player-wise because the [injured] players are just not there, so how can we keep the others confident through that and until the moment when we are in a different moment? It’s not cool. I would go home and think, ‘That’s why they pay me that much money.’ In other moments I still don’t understand why they do it, but in these moments I think, ‘Ah, yes, that’s why it is.’

Shifting to focus on the game at the weekend, Klopp was equally open about having played in this final and lost it previously with Liverpool — though he was clear that had the Reds beaten City and/or won the Europa League final a few months later his remit as the new Liverpool boss would have remained the same.

It was so hard. You don’t have solutions player-wise because the [injured] players are just not there, so how can we keep the others confident through that and until the moment when we are in a different moment? It’s not cool. I would go home and think, ‘That’s why they pay me that much money.’ In other moments I still don’t understand why they do it, but in these moments I think, ‘Ah, yes, that’s why it is.’

While he understands the importance of silverware — and insisted strongly to the journalists present that he very much did want to progress in this competition in recent years and was largely stymied due to his chosen squad size and unfriendly cup draws amidst busy Decembers — the mention of the last League Cup final’s opposition, Manchester City, caused Klopp to reflect on how City’s success can function to diminish the absolute quality of his Liverpool side.

The character of these boys made the story. The consistency that the boys showed over the years is crazy. There is only one problem — there is another team who is even more consistent, just that little bit, and that’s City.

It’s not a problem for me. It’s just that in general you would talk about this team completely differently if the other team were not there. The consistency is outstanding so far but the only way I know is to keep it going because we are Liverpool and everybody expects us to win.

After the intense challenges and personal darkness of 2020/21, Klopp and his Liverpool side find themselves in a wonderful place this season: it’s the end of February and four competitions are in their hands.

Klopp will hope to seize the potential of the season ahead by adding a League Cup to his Liverpool trophy cabinet.

It’s once again a brilliant time to be a Red.