It was Mohamed Salah’s goal at the Etihad that cemented Liverpool’s place in the Champions League semi-finals. Up 3-1 on aggregate, after a Gabriel Jesus strike raised Manchester City’s odds of pulling out an upset, the away goal gave the Citizens a mountain to climb in order to advance to the next round. And the response from the Liverpool eleven on the pitch was ferocious glee.
It was the celebratory sight of a team playing as one, full of confidence and trust and a determination to rise up and do something incredible together. Team unity can’t be underestimated as a driving force in any team. When you have the lofty ambitions of a club like Liverpool, team unity is crucial. And Jürgen Klopp has given that togetherness a place to grow. The manager highlights that moment of revelry after Salah’s deft header over Ederson as a great example of Liverpool’s team spirit. Exhibit A: Even the goalkeeper came out for the party.
“It was obvious because even Loris was there,” Klopp said.
“The boys felt the size of the goal. It was really, really special. But the boys created the atmosphere in the group.
“What is first, the atmosphere in the team or the success? In a successful team there is always a good atmosphere.
“Other teams can have very good players but no group.”
We’ve all been through too many building projects at the club. Liverpool have been building a team capable of success for many years and while the good times have been aplenty, the trophies and accolades have been hard to come by. But Jürgen Klopp hasn’t come into the club and taken on any of that baggage. When he talks about the future of the team, there’s more excitement generated because it’s believable.
Klopp has proven himself a great coach and a great manager of a team, of people. And he’s getting outstanding results from players who are happy to play for him, happy to play for each other and happy to be playing their football.
“We have a big chance here to create something for the future,” said Klopp.
“In the moment we have to deliver performances, collecting points, winning.
“The age group of the team is really good. We are still young and full of potential and all that stuff.
“My impression at the moment is that they are all excited about being in this group.”
Some of the player’s social media accounts are also great examples of the team spirit being fostered at Melwood. There’s been post-game videos and words of support for each other, support for Salah in his quest to win the Golden Boot. Also, Dejan Lovren and Salah have been documenting their blossoming friendship and that’s just nice. In fact, I’ve been trying to start and document a blossoming friendship with them, too, but I haven’t heard anything.
“It is a really good group and with Mo everyone really likes the hype around him, all the boys,” added Klopp.
“When we came out for the Champions League training before Man City, I said, ‘Come on everybody, let’s go out naked because no one will realise, they are just looking at Mo’.”