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Klopp: Europa loss can be turning point in club's fortunes

19 May 2016, 21:34

Basel — After his side's chastening loss to Sevilla in the Europa League final, Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp hopes the demoralizing defeat will be fondly remembered over time as a key turning point in the club's fortunes.

A 3-1 loss to a clearly superior Sevilla team showed how much work the charismatic German will need to do in the offseason to improve a squad he took over just seven months ago, following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers.

"We will use this experience together," Klopp said. "Someday everybody will say Basel was a very decisive moment for a wonderful future of Liverpool."

But first of all, he must address how and why Liverpool's play slumped after Sevilla levelled the match less than 20 seconds into the second half — and then totally dominated it after that, often pulling Liverpool's defense apart with ease.

"Of course this team will be a little bit different next year," Klopp said, with his mind already on the summer transfer window. "We have to work on it."

In some ways, Klopp's first part-season at Anfield was a holding operation — and a quite successful one — with a disjointed group he got from Rodgers.

Klopp chose not to make major changes in the January transfer window, and — with a well-organized team that had clear weak links — he almost repeated Rafa Benitez's European feat of winning the 2005 Champions League in his debut season with Liverpool.

Also read: Europa exploits set Liverpool benchmark – Klopp

But with no Champions League football to offer potential new signings — the place UEFA gives to Europa winners goes to Sevilla — Klopp's immediate task has been made much harder.

Still, he will at least have a lighter schedule next season.

"That means not a lot of football on Wednesday, not a lot of football on Thursday," said Klopp, whose hard-running, pressing style has clearly worked on his players. "It means we have time to train."

Klopp may also need some luck with injuries at the European Championship — which will be held in France from June 10-July 10 — with seven matches in a month should any of his players reach the final.

"It will be a long tournament for a lot of my players," Klopp said. "Belgian players, English players, German players. Hopefully they all come back healthy."

Even if they do all come back from Euro 2016 injury-free, they will have a lot to learn after being so outwitted by Sevilla.

"To have this consistency in the game they need a little bit more time maybe," Klopp said. "We will use it, and we will come back stronger, that's for sure."

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- AP


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