The Final Hurdle: How Can Liverpool Become A Trophy Winning Team?

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Article by Anish Dogra @Anish_Dogra

Liverpool Football Club have been renowned all over the world for competing in every tournament and winning trophies domestically and across Europe on a consistent basis, however in my 11 years of supporting Liverpool I have seen our club lift one trophy, the Carling Cup (as it was called back then) in 2012 beating Cardiff FC on penalties.

Since 2007 the club has reached the semi-finals or better and have had the opportunity to win two UEFA Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues, four League Cups and two FA Cups. The club also came close in 2008/09 and 2013/14 to win the Premier League title.

Despite coming so close to winning so many trophies in the last eleven years, why can’t the club get over the final hurdle and lift some much needed silverware? Many can point to the fact that the squad isn’t strong enough and there are too many “mediocre” players, others may argue a lack of experience in winning trophies is a significant factor whilst another portion of fans may believe the current group of players do not have the “know how” in leaping over the final hurdle and lifting the silverware. All of these points are valid in fans’ opinions however I believe a lack of “know how” and experience in finals is the main factor as to why Liverpool FC cannot win trophies.

A prime example is our run in the Europa League in the 2015/16 season, the club had beaten Augsburg, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal before meeting Sevilla in the final. Liverpool led 1-0 at half time thanks to a sublime Daniel Sturridge goal, however from leading one nil at half time and completely outplaying their opponent Liverpool eventually lost that game 3-1 with Sevilla producing a surprising yet fine comeback.

Fast forward twelve months and Manchester United found themselves in the Europa League final playing against a youthful Ajax side, United ran out comfortable winners beating their counterparts 2-0.

Although Manchester United played a less potent side in Ajax in comparison to Liverpool playing an experienced Sevilla side who had won the Europa League in the two previous seasons, Manchester United were by far the more convincing winners against Ajax.

In my opinion I believe a genuine lack of experience was the reason to our downfall in 2016, the team that played that final, only three players from the starting eleven had won titles and other trophies at other clubs, those players were Kolo Toure, Daniel Sturridge and James Milner. In comparison to Manchester United, they were able to field a starting eleven who had all won titles and trophies in the past.

This comparison is just one example of the many times Liverpool could have won trophies but have just fallen short at the final hurdle due to a lack of player experience and “know how”.

As a passionate supporter it is somewhat easy to make these assumptions that the squad needs more experienced players to help them lift trophies, but under Jurgen Klopp and the owners the club are making significant steps forward and I have no doubt that trophies will come soon. To sum up how positive I am that Klopp will bring trophies can be said in just a few words Trust in Klopp.

So to bridge the gap and overcome the final hurdle, what do Liverpool need? Is it a lack of experience, a lack of quality or as we have been recently, is lady luck just not on our side? It could perhaps be a combination of all these things, but constantly appearing in finals has to be a positive thing, right?

Klopp’s final record does of course with negative connotations, while to might be some achievement to reach some of those finals, with the teams he had and how he got them there, fans expect trophies. None more so than Liverpool fans, we’ve have to wait a fair while. Others may blame lack of investment, the loss of key players or they might just be looking for something to moan about, thats what Twitter is for after all.

Again, there’s no doubting Jurgen Klopp’s talent as a manager and anyone who has followed Liverpool in the past two years can see the improvement in how we play, the players we are attracting and the synergy between the team and the fans.

Klopp was tactically brilliant in every tie of our Champions League run in the season just gone, for example the two-legged tie against Manchester City was a tactical masterclass an with Klopp deciding to stick with Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back despite his underwhelming performances against Manchester United and Crystal palace against perhaps the best left winger in the Premier League, Leroy Sane Alexander-Arnold had Leroy Sane in his back pocket in both games.

Further tactical excellence was evident in the Champions League final, despite losing that game 3-1 against Real Madrid everyone could see how well Liverpool played, all three goals were of complete luck in favour to Real Madrid (two mistakes from Loris Karius and a stunning overhead kick from Gareth Bale) and while Mohammed Salah was still on the pitch Liverpool looked by far the threatening side and looked more likely to strike first rather than their opponents.

The second leg against Borussia Dortmund was perhaps the finest comeback Anfield witnessed, Liverpool were trailing 2-0 at half-time against an excellent Borussia Dortmund side yet the Reds came out in the second half like a house on fire and turned it around to win 4-3 on the night. Some may say it was a famous European night at Anfield, but I can tell you it was much more than that, at half time Divock Origi told the reason how Liverpool turned that 2-0 deficit around “Jurgen Klopp told us at half time to write a story that we can tell our grandchildren in years to come” a simple sentence from Klopp along with him telling his players how this club came from 3-0 down against an excellent AC Milan side in the Champions league final in 2005 sparked a sensational reaction from his players which led them to producing a stunning comeback against Klopp’s former side.

The Champions League and Europa League run in the past has shown what Jurgen Klopp has brought to this Liverpool side, he has given them belief and courage to show the rest of the footballing world that they are a force to be reckoned with and that everyone should fear this exciting Liverpool team that Klopp has assembled over the last 3 years.

What are your thoughts on this? There’s no doubting Klopp is taking Liverpool in the right direction, will the current set of players have benefited from such a good Champions League run?

Article by Anish Dogra @Anish_Dogra

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